ARIZONA NEWS

New evacuation ordered in area of Bighorn Fire north of Tucson

Jun 16, 2020, 11:19 AM | Updated: 7:31 pm
bighorn fire...
(InciWeb Photo)
(InciWeb Photo)

PHOENIX — Officials issued a new evacuation order Tuesday afternoon for residents near the Bighorn Fire in southern Arizona’s Catalina Mountains.

The boundaries of the evacuation zone are Mount Lemmon/Mount Bigelow north of Organization Ridge Road, including Summerhaven, according to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

Residents were told at 1:30 p.m. to leave the area immediately by heading south on Catalina Highway.

An evacuation center was opened at Sahuaro High School in Tucson. Large animals can be sheltered at Rillito Racetrack.

The lightning-caused blaze north of Tucson started June 5 and had consumed 15,805 acres and was 40% contained as of Tuesday night, according to authorities.

There are currently 700 personnel working to contain the blaze and night shift crews will be monitoring activity in the community of Summerhaven and around Mount Lemmon.

Authorities expect active fire behavior through the night due to a lack of humidity and wind speed reaching up to 35 MPH at higher elevations.

Flames have been visible from Tucson at night.

A previous evacuation notice was issued Thursday for about 300 homes in a different area near the fire as crews worked to keep the flames from moving downhill in a mountainous area, but it was lifted the next day.

High temperatures and gusty winds have created challenging conditions for firefighters, who also are dealing with steep, rocky terrain.

Catalina State Park is closed because of the fire, and portions of the Coronado National Forest Santa Catalina Ranger District are restricted. Catalina Highway is also closed at milepost zero except for residents and business owners.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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(InciWeb Photo) (InciWeb Photo) (InciWeb Photo) Vehicle lights leave streaks a the Bighorn Fire moves along the western side of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Sunday, June 14, 2020, in Oro Valley, Ariz. Hundreds of homes on the outskirts of Tucson remain under an evacuation notice as firefighters work to keep the wildfire from moving downhill from canyons and ridges in the Coronado National Forest. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) The Bighorn Fire moves along the western side of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Sunday, June 14, 2020, in Oro Valley, Ariz. Hundreds of homes on the outskirts of Tucson remain under an evacuation notice as firefighters work to keep the wildfire from moving downhill from canyons and ridges in the Coronado National Forest. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Fires crews move to another location as they battle the Bighorn Fire along the western side of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Sunday, June 14, 2020, in Oro Valley, Ariz. Hundreds of homes on the outskirts of Tucson remain under an evacuation notice as firefighters work to keep the wildfire from moving downhill from canyons and ridges in the Coronado National Forest. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) A stiff wind out of the southwest pushes the Bighorn Fire into the central Santa Catalina Mountains as seen from Oro Valley, Ariz., Saturday, June 13, 2020. The fire has grown and is now threatening Mt. Lemmon and the town of Summerhaven, Ariz. (Kelly Presnell/Arizona Daily Star via AP) 
              A Pima County Sheriff officer checks residents' identification in a closed off neighborhood affected by the Bighorn Fire along the western side of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Friday, June 12, 2020, in Tucson, Arizona. Hundreds of homes on the outskirts of Tucson remain under an evacuation notice as firefighters work to keep the wildfire from moving downhill from canyons and ridges in the Coronado National Forest. (AP Photo/Matt York)
            (InciWeb Photo) A hot shot fire crew fighting the Bighorn Fire hikes on ridge in the foothills as smoke from wildfires rise in the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, Ariz., Thursday, June 11, 2020.  (Rebecca Sasnett/Arizona Daily Star via AP) Residents in the Catalina Foothills neighborhood north of Tucson, Ariz., watch an air tanker drop fire retardant on the Bighorn Fire wildfire in the Santa Catalina Mountains, Thursday, June 11, 2020.  (Rebecca Sasnett/Arizona Daily Star via AP) (Twitter Photo/Coronado National Forest) (InciWeb Photo) A heavy lift helicopter passes through the Bighorn Fire burning along Pusch Ridge Saturday, June 6, 2020 in Coronado National Forest north of Tucson. Arizona's wildfire season is already in high gear, thanks in large part to human carelessness but also weather conditions last winter that produced an abundance of vegetation now serving as fuel for fires. (Rick WileyArizona Daily Star via AP) A DC-10 air tanker drops thousands of gallons of retardant at the base of the Bighorn Fire burning above La Reseve along Pusch Ridge on Saturday, June 6, 2020 in Coronado National Forest north of Tucson, Ariz. Arizona's wildfire season is already in high gear, thanks in large part to human carelessness but also weather conditions last winter that produced an abundance of vegetation now serving as fuel for fires.  (Rick WileyArizona Daily Star via AP) Flames fanned by canyon winds emerge from the smoke on Saturday, June 6, 2020 during the Bighorn Fire burning along Pusch Ridge in Coronado National Forest north of Tucson, Ariz. Arizona's wildfire season is already in high gear, thanks in large part to human carelessness but also weather conditions last winter that produced an abundance of vegetation now serving as fuel for fires.  (Rick WileyArizona Daily Star via AP) In this Saturday, June 6, 2020 photo, a heavy-lift helicopter drops water on the line of the Bighorn Fire burning along Pusch Ridge in Coronado National Forest north of Tucson, Ariz. (Rick Wiley/Arizona Daily Star via AP) A Chinook helicopter flies along the past granite formations in a wildfire called the Bighorn Fire burning along Pusch Ridge of the Santa Catalina Mountains in Coronado National Forest, north of Tucson, Ariz., Sunday, June 7, 2020. The fire is at 1,000 acres and 0% contained, according to fire officials. (Rick Wiley/Arizona Daily Star via AP) A lead plane, lower left, guides a heavy air tanker during a retardant drop at a wildfire called the Bighorn Fire burning along Pusch Ridge of the Santa Catalina Mountains in Coronado National Forest north of Tucson, Ariz., Sunday, June 7, 2020. The fire is at 1,000 acres and 0% contained, according to fire officials. (Rick Wiley/Arizona Daily Star via AP)

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New evacuation ordered in area of Bighorn Fire north of Tucson