Information sought on person of interest in connection with Moli - Tucson News Now

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Information sought on person of interest in connection with Molino Fire

Smoke from wildfire in the Catalina Mountains. (Source: U.S. Forest Service - Coronado National Forest) Smoke from wildfire in the Catalina Mountains. (Source: U.S. Forest Service - Coronado National Forest)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Officials with the Coronado National Forest are looking for a person of interest in connection with last week's Molino Fire on Mt. Lemmon. 

The Molino Fire was reported at 12:30 on Tuesday afternoon, April 4, at Milepost 4.5 along the Mt. Lemmon Highway. According to witness reports and activity associated with the area where the fire began, officials believe the fire may have started as a result of recreational shooting. 

Heidi Schewel, spokeswoman with the Coronado National Forest, said recreation shooting is allowed on national forest land as long as it's done safely and responsibly. She said the area where the fire broke out is not a safe area. There is a lot of dry grass and rocks that bullets can ricochet off of and cause a spark. 

The person of interest, according to a U.S. Forest Service release, is described as a white man, tall with an average to muscular build. He was last seen wearing a light-colored hat, possibly gray or tan with a gray shirt, shorts and tennis shoes. He was last seen moving a vehicle that was parked near milepost 4.5. The vehicle is described as a forest green, mid-1990s Ford Explorer. 

Anyone with information about this person of interest, or who saw any activity in the fire area near milepost 4.5 on Tuesday from late morning up to 12:30 p.m. is asked to contact the Coronado National Forest Supervisor’s Office at (520), 388-8300.

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Schewel said most people are aware of the obvious things that could start of fire, such as leaving a campfire unattended and throwing cigarette butts out the window. She said however, there are a wide range of things that could potentially cause a spark..

"Chains striking asphalt could create sparks. Welding on a windy day. Even a lawn mower blade and strike a stone and cause a spark. In 2011 we had a horse hoof, the metal shoe hit a stone and caused a spark. The hotter and drier it gets, the worse it's going to become," Schewel said. 

Schewel also reminds everyone to keep drones away from wildfires. 

She said a drone flew into the restricted airspace that was temporarily set up as helicopters were on standby for the nearby Shovel Fire. Flying a drone near a wildfire will ground helicopters or other aircraft and slow down suppression efforts. 

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