People relieved on Mount Lemmon as fire size downgraded - Tucson News Now

People relieved on Mount Lemmon as fire size downgraded

(Source: Coronado National Forest) (Source: Coronado National Forest)
(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The lessened acreage on the Shovel Fire burning on Mt. Lemmon has lessened the concern from people nearby.

The worry in Summerhaven was not nearly as high Sunday as it was Saturday night, when people there could see the flames and smoke peeking over the hillside.

"I trust the people taking care of it," said one patron at Sawmill Run Restaurant.

Businesses were up and running in Summerhaven, even with the fire reportedly burning about two miles away. Helicopters were making water drops as many were eating their lunch.

Crews said a fire that started Saturday evening in the Catalina Mountains had slowed down, as they got a better look at the charred area Sunday morning. 

Heidi Schewel, Public Affairs Specialist for Coronado National Forest, said the Shovel Fire was estimated at 10 acres, as of 9:45 a.m. Sunday. Fire crews originally estimated the burning area at 25 acres Saturday night.

"I felt relieved this morning. Because last night when I went to bed I didn't know. They were saying it could get up to 80 acres burning. And when I got up to walk to the restaurant there was smoke all over the village. It was filled," said Steven Sanders, the Sawmill Run Restaurant Manager.

The change had people breathing easier.

"Shutting it down and downgrading it means that there's probably not going to be any more damage. I'd hate to see a fire get out of control again," said Tim Mahanna, visiting from Tucson.

Memories of past fire and their devastating capabilities were still fresh on Mahanna's mind. In June 2003, the Aspen Fire ravaged this area, destroying more than 300 homes and burning more than 80,000 acres.

Some people had to cut short their recreation plans with certain trails blocked off on Mt. Lemmon. The road up the mountain was open, but there were road closures near Rose Lake and the University of Arizona Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter observatory.

According to visitors nearby, an adjustment to their plans was a price they were willing to pay for a safe end to the fire.

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