Burro Fire evacuees pack community meeting - Tucson News Now

Burro Fire evacuees pack community meeting

Evacuees packed into Sahuaro High School and had a chance to get their questions answered from Burro Fire crews on July 3. (Source: Tucson News Now) Evacuees packed into Sahuaro High School and had a chance to get their questions answered from Burro Fire crews on July 3. (Source: Tucson News Now)
The Burro Fire perimeter on July 3 (in red) is shown with those of two other major fires that burned in the Catalinas in recent years. (Source: Google Earth) The Burro Fire perimeter on July 3 (in red) is shown with those of two other major fires that burned in the Catalinas in recent years. (Source: Google Earth)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Burro Fire is still burning out of control and is causing evacuations for Mount Lemmon residents and Fourth of July campers.

The fire has burned more than 14,000 acres since it broke out on Friday, June 30, near Redington Pass.

The blaze nearly tripled in size since Sunday, July 2, and firefighters said on Monday, July 3, they are focused on protecting the homes and cabins on Mount Lemmon as evacuated property owners watch anxiously from Tucson.

“It’s heartbreaking,” evacuee Connie Taylor said.

Taylor said when she looks up at the thick smoke coating the air from the Burro Fire, she can’t help but think of the scary images from the Aspen Fire that ripped through Summerhaven in 2003. The Taylors' cabin was destroyed.

“My mom and dad had just passed away, so we had pictures up there. We had her furniture  - and it all just burned up,” she said.

Taylor and her husband rebuilt their piece of paradise in the same spot. They planned to celebrate the Fourth of July at their cabin, but were forced out Sunday.

“Some clothing, medicine. I mean you can’t take the whole thing with you, so you get what you can,” Taylor said.

Some families live on Mount Lemmon year-round and have also rebuilt after past fires tore through their homes.

“It’s very depressing," said Bill Piatkiewicz said. "Reminds us of 2003, and 2002, the Bullock Fire.”

Dozens of evacuees packed into Sahuaro High School and had a chance to get their questions answered from Burro Fire crews on Monday night. The Burro Fire section chief explained the challenges firefighters are facing with the rugged terrain.

“Very steep, there’s a lot of fuel loading," Jay Lusher said. "It’s a lot of risk to our firefighters right on the fire line."

Fire crews said they are confident they’ll be able to protect the homes on Mount Lemmon.

“We do have some time and space from where the fire is now that we can implement the actions we think will allow us to protect the infrastructure and residences on top of the mountain,” Lusher said.

That’s welcome news for homeowners who said it is difficult watching the smoke billow up and not knowing what they will return to.

“We’ll just pray and pray and pray – that’s all we can do,” Piatkiewicz said.

Fire crews are hoping monsoon rain will roll in by the end of the week. They said that will likely help them start to get some control over the fire.

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Copyright 2017 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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