Bighorn Fire Near Tucson Prompts More Evacuations

Megan VerHelst

TUCSON, AZ — As crews continue to battle the Bighorn Fire near Tucson, emergency officials on Tuesday ordered the evacuation of additional communities in the Catalina Foothills. The evacuation notice was issued just before 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The most recent evacuation affects Mount Lemmon and Mount Bigelow north of Organization Ridge Road. The notice also includes Summerhaven.

Residents are asked to head south on Catalina Highway and leave the mountain immediately. The Pima County Sheriff’s Department will be going door to door to check on affected residents.

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An evacuation center is open at Saguaro High School, 545 N. Camino Seco. Large animal sheltering is available at Rillito Racetrack, 4502 N. First Ave. Pima Animal Care Center will also be housing pets. Residents should call the after-hours number at 520-724-5900 and press 4.

As part of the Ready, Set, GO! process, a "Set" alert has been put in place for the Lower Catalina Highway and Lower Mount Lemmon communities from Organization Ridge Road to South Willow Canyon.

(Interactive map via Pima County)

The Bighorn Fire, sparked by lightning on June 5, started in the Catalina Mountains northwest of Tucson in the Coronado National Forest. Dry, windy conditions have pushed the fire closer to communities and has forced evacuations over the past several days.

The fire currently is burning in steep and rugged terrain in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness. As of Tuesday, the fire had grown to nearly 14,700 acres and is 30 percent contained.

Due to the fire, Catalina State Park and several popular trails in the area are closed including Romero Canyon, Pima Canyon, Finger Rock, Pontatoc, Pontatoc Ridge and Linda Vista.

Smoke impacts to surrounding communities are being carefully monitored.

Over the next several days, communities should expect to see crews and apparatus working in and around subdivisions in the Catalina Foothills. Members of the public are advised to drive with caution and leave roadways clear for emergency vehicles.

Find more information about the Bighorn Fire on Pima County's website.

Residents of Pima County are urged to sign up to receive emergency alerts here.

This article originally appeared on the Tucson Patch