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Arizona's Bighorn Fire chars 95,000 acres; evacuations still in place

by Helena Wegner, Arizona Republic (Tucson) |

TUCSON, Ariz. – The Bighorn Fire has grown an additional 7,000 acres since Friday in the Catalina Mountains northwest of Tucson, but it reached 40% containment, according to officials Saturday morning.

Evacuations remain in place for residents living on the eastern slope of Catalina Mountains, south of the Pima County line and west of Redington.

Additional evacuations include Mount Lemmon, Summerhaven, Mount Bigelow, lower Catalina Highway and lower Mount Lemmon communities from Organization Ridge Road to South Willow Canyon.

A "SET" evacuation status warning residents that they could be asked to evacuate is in place for the Redington community bordered by county lines on the north and east, portions of the East Golder Ranch area and Catalina Foothills east of Kolb Road within northern areas of Ventana Canyon neighborhoods.

Current closures include Sabino Canyon, Bear Canyon and Catalina State Park.

High temperatures, wind and a chance for thunderstorms have increased fire activity and put the area under a fire weather watch, the fire's incident commander said.

For Saturday, temperatures are expected to be 76-83 degrees in upper elevations and 100-103 degrees near the valley floor.

Fire crews will continue to work on the ground to improve a fire line near Willow Canyon, Palisade Canyon, Green Mountain and south of the Davis Spring Road.

A fire line is also being built on the south side of Green Mountain while crews work on extinguishing a hotspot three miles northeast of Catalina State Park.