Tucson’s Bighorn Fire: Less wind, more humidity to help fight massive blaze today

Arizona News
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The wildfire was at 104,690 acres as of Sunday morning. It was 45% contained and 1,168 people were assigned to the fire, which has cost more than $28 million to fight, so far.

A day with less wind and more humidity will help firefighters today in their efforts to contain the massive Bighorn Fire, officials say.

UPDATES: Bighorn Fire near Tucson, June 30: Here’s what we know

“We’re starting to transition from hot, dry, windy to more of that monsoonal moisture that’s supposed to show up tomorrow,” Scott Schuster with the the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team said in the Tuesday morning briefing after pointing out that clouds were already forming above the Santa Catalinas.

That moisture is expected to bring scattered evening showers and thunderstorms to most of the Tucson area starting Wednesday, the U.S. National Weather Service said.

Schuster said wind gusts on top of Mount Lemmon Monday topped 50 miles an hour and that it was the windiest June 29 on record in Tucson.

Despite several windy days, Schuster says three-quarters of the containment lines have held up.

“We survived two days of wind, with that we’re feeling confident,” he said. “We feel we’ll survive another one.”

The wildfire sparked by lightning on June 5, has grown to more than 115,000 acres — almost 180 square miles — and was 45 percent contained. On Tuesday, 1,018 people were assigned to help fight the wildfire.

It has cost more than $32 million to fight the fire.

The southeast edge of the fire around the Redington area continues to be the most active, Schuster said. The fire has reached Redington Road, which is being used as a barrier. A section of fire crossed the road Monday. Crews held the incursion to about 20 acres, he said.

Pima County officials issued evacuation orders for the Redington area over the weekend and Tuesday morning. The Cascabel and San Pedro Valley area are now in a “ready” stage of evacuation orders — the first stage of the “ready, set, go” evacuation stages — meaning residents there should prepare for potential threats to the community.

For the past two days, crews in the Summerhaven area have been dealing with a four-acre hotspot near Soldier Canyon. The weather today will help control that hotspot, he said.

Meanwhile, the western, northern and edges along the lower Foothills have continued to stay quiet for the past several days, he said.

Schuster started the morning briefing by acknowledging that it is the seventh anniversary of the deadly Yarnell Fire, the deadly wildfire near Prescott.

On June 30, 2013, 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters died in the Arizona blaze, the biggest loss of firefighters since 9/11.

One member of the crew survived.

Firefighters assigned to Bighorn will have a moment of silence today at 4:30 p.m., Schuster said.

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