Burro Fire brings back bad memories for firefighters - Tucson News Now

Burro Fire brings back bad memories for firefighters

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Seeing the Burro Fire burning in the Santa Catalina Mountains brings back uneasy feelings for Heidi Schewel.

Worry creeps into her mind "immediately," Schewel said, when asked about how quickly she's reminded of past fires burning in the same area.

Schewel, a Public Affairs Officer with the U.S. Forest Service, talked about working on the fire team during the Aspen Fire of 2003, and the Bullock Fire of 2002. Both compared similarly to the Burro Fire, that has burned more than 25,000 acres, as of Thursday, July 6, northeast of Tucson.

And that brought back bad memories.

"All three started during the hot, dry time of the year. Bullock started in May, Aspen was in mid-June, and then here we are with Burro. All when it was really dry. The fuels were very responsive to increasing heat. So that's really the optimal time for burning conditions for fires to burn," she explained.

The Aspen Fire of 2003 burned more than 84,000 acres and destroyed much of the town of Summerhaven.

The Bullock Fire of 2002 burned more than 33,000 acres, in much of the same area where the Burro Fire is currently burning. It's allowed firefighters to implement some of the same tactics used in the past.

"Some of the tactics are similar with Burro and Bullock - using the Catalina Highway for a control feature, and thinning in from the highway," Schewel said. "We're removing fuel so that if needed, they could then burn, light fire, and create a black buffer should the fire move that way."

It's why Catalina Highway is still closed to the public as of July 6.

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