Jul 1, 2013 4:16 PM by Brian White
TUCSON - The Prison Fire, burning in the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, has grown to approximately 200 acres.
Sunday evening June 30, a monsoonal storm occurred in the areas of Tucson and Southeastern Arizona. Associated with the storm was significant lightning with over 600 strikes across the Coronado National Forest recorded by radar. One of the strikes occurred about 6:00 p.m. in the Molino Basin drainage of the Santa Catalina Mountains, causing a wildfire. At approximately 6:15 p.m. the Lemmon Rock Lookout reported the smoke to the Tucson Interagency Dispatch Center who immediately deployed fire fighters and engines to suppress the blaze.
By morning, the fire had grown to approximately 200 acres, burning in light fuels which have regrown since the 2003 Aspen Fire. Resources assigned include two crews of firefighters, a fire engine, two water tenders, and a helicopter for a total of 60 personnel. The fire is 5% contained at present and active on the west flank.
Due to firefighter activity along the Catalina Highway, members of the public are encouraged to avoid using the highway until crews contain the fire. Heavy engines and water tenders will be travelling up and down the road during suppression activities. Other non- essential traffic could hinder that effort.
People are again reminded that even with the onset of summer rains, little to no moisture has fallen on many mountain ranges on the Coronado. Stage 2 fire restrictions are in place which prohibit campfires, charcoal grills, smoking, welding, and target shooting until further notice. Fireworks, popular with the 4th of July holiday, are always strictly prohibited on the Coronado National Forest and federal public lands in Arizona. The prohibitions carry criminal sanctions for those convicted of violations of the order as well as civil responsibility for suppression costs for fires created by the prohibited activity.