Mount Lemmon and the community of Summerhaven are being evacuated as crews work to battle the Bighorn Fire.
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.
The general boundaries of the evacuation zone are Mount Lemmon and Mount Bigelow north of Organization Ridge Road, including Summerhaven. The evacuation notice was issued just before 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
For more information, residents can call 351-3473.
Those in the lower Catalina Highway and Mount Lemmon communities from Organization Ridge Road to South Willow Canyon are on "Set" alert. Those residents are urged to voluntarily leave or be prepared to evacuate.
As of Tuesday morning, the Bighorn Fire burning north of Tucson had grown to 15,805 acres, but progress has been made with containment reaching 40%.
Storms to the south and east of the blaze on Monday limited the fire spread.
Humidity from Monday will dissipate and hot, dry conditions are expected today, with strong southwest winds of up to 30 miles per hour expected.
Today, firefighters are focusing on creating solid, defensible space around the community of Summerhaven on Mount Lemmon, using bulldozers and excavators to bolster fuel breaks, in the event that the fire moves up the mountain.
Crews are placing bright orange portable water tanks known as pumpkins among the homes of the mountaintop town to feed sprinkler systems and strategically placed firehoses.
Officials are also looking at where the fire could impact Sabino Canyon as the blaze has backed its way up into the west fork of the area.
The Game and Fish Department is working to pull some of the endangered fish in the area out.
On Monday night, crews took advantage of favorable weather to conduct burnout operations on the northeast portion of the fire near the Trico powerline corridor.
The goal of the burnout, conducted through aerial ignition using helicopters, is to slow the upslope momentum of the fire as it emerges from Romero Pass, officials said.
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Some lightning was seen over the forest Monday night, putting firefighters on the ready to suppress any new ignitions.
The lightning-caused Bighorn Fire started June 5 in the Santa Catalina Mountains.
There are 729 people working the blaze, including seven hotshot crews, eight Type 2 hand crews, 27 Type 3 engines, one Type 4 engine, 25 Type 6 engines, four Type 1 helicopters, one Type 2 helicopter, two Type 3 helicopters, nine water tenders and six bulldozers.
Mount Lemmon and Mount Bigelow are in “SET – Be Alert” status north of Organization Ridge Road Area, including Summerhaven.
SET notices for portions of the Catalina Foothills, Golder Ranch and Oro Valley remain in place.
Catalina Highway is closed at milepost zero — only residents and business owners may pass. Campgrounds on Mount Lemmon are closed.
The Coronado National Forest closure includes Sabino and Bear Canyons. Catalina State Park is closed. Large portions of the Coronado National Forest, Santa Catalina Ranger District near the fire, are restricted.