Firefighters on the Bighorn Fire near Tucson prepare for Red Flag conditions Sunday and Monday

The fire has grown to over 95,000 acres, approaching “megafire” status of 100,000 acres

(Originally published at 2:29 p.m. MDT June 27, 2020)

Summerhaven Bighorn Fire Tucson Mt Lemmon
Night operations at Summerhaven on the Bighorn Fire. Photo by David Melendez June 26, 2020.

The National Weather Service in Tucson has issued a Red Flag Warning for Tucson and the Bighorn Fire area from noon to 8 p.m. MST Sunday and from noon to 8 p.m. MST Monday. The prediction is for strong winds, low humidity, and very high fire danger. The wind is expected to be out of the southwest at 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 35 mph Sunday, and on Monday, southwest at 15 to 20 mph with gusts between 35 and 40 mph. The relative humidity will be 10 to 17 percent in the valleys and 13 to 21 percent in the mountains.

From the Incident Management Team on Saturday:

“Friday night, burnout operations south of Davis Spring Road and 4 miles west of Redington were conducted to reduce the risk of eastward fire spread. Aerial ignition operations were conducted near Palisade Canyon and Green Mountain to improve firelines and reduce the risk of uncontrolled fire reaching the Catalina Highway. East of Saddlebrook a firing operation improved firelines. Holding, mop up and structure protection was the focus in Summerhaven, Willow Canyon, and Saddlebrook. Biosphere, Oracle, and Sabino Canyon were in patrol status.

“Saturday’s Activities: Crews will hold and improve line near Willow Canyon, Palisade Canyon, Green Mountain, and south of the Davis Spring Road. Hotshot crews will build fireline on the south side of Green Mountain. A hand crew will work to extinguish a hotspot approximately three miles northeast of Catalina State Park.  East of the fire, construction will continue on contingency lines by connecting to existing road systems. Structure protection will be in place for Saddlebrook and along the Catalina Highway.Initial attack resources are pre-positioned around the fire.”

A mapping flight Friday night determined that the Bighorn Fire had burned 95,225 acres, a 24-hour increase of over 7,000 acres.

(To see all articles about the Bighorn fire, including the most recent, click here.)

map Bighorn Fire Tucson Mt Lemmon
3-D map of the Bighorn Fire looking southeast. The red line was the perimeter at 10:31 p.m. MDT June 26, 2020. The green line was the perimeter about 48 hours before.
map Bighorn Fire Tucson Mt Lemmon
Map of the Bighorn Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 10:31 p.m. MDT June 26, 2020. The green line was the perimeter about 48 hours before.
Bighorn Fire Tucson Mt Lemmon
Firing operation on Oracle Ridge at the Bighorn Fire. Inciweb photo June 23, 2020.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

9 thoughts on “Firefighters on the Bighorn Fire near Tucson prepare for Red Flag conditions Sunday and Monday”

  1. We appreciate all of the hard work by the Firefighters !! However, management is questionable, and this fire should have been completely controlled weeks ago !!.
    Still seems like there is an element of the infamous LET BURN POLICY ,in the USFS!
    Something needs to change, and definitely more Aircraft should be available .

    1. Who ever wrote the most recent comment u try being a firefighter In their suit & packs on back plus are u & expert on fires I do understand, yes it has taken a while to end the fire, I’m from Tucson, we have mountains every where some low & deep why don’t u just give thank you to all the crews which now is over 1000 for what they do, by protecting our homes & lives a proud tucsonian

      .

      1. I worked wildland fires for over 10 years and i know these fires could be controled sooner if the forestry dervice would allow them to be worked when they start instead of letting them get out of control so they become a campain fire.

  2. Interesting thoughts and comments, Chuck.
    As a former OSC1 and ATGS, I’m curious about the basis for your comments and your wildfire ICS quals?

  3. There were heavy fuels in the area of ignition. Air attack was grounded by unauthorized drones just as crews were about to corral it 4-5 days in. There’s virtually no vehicular access to the interior of the the Catalinas or Pusch Ridge…terrain is very inaccessible for the hand crews. And there have been about 3 straight weeks of red flag days. Burnouts were pretty smart to essentially get some black buffer from the foothills. As soon as the fire stood up when air attack was grounded, it went full suppression. SW Team 2 played their cards pretty well considering the conditions and the fact that firefighter safety always comes first.

    1. If the usfs would allow local fire crews to conduct back burning operation when these fures started they would be cintrolled sooner. Powe trip.

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