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Wildfire On A Sacred Mountain: Baboquivari, Southwest of Tucson, AZ (1 of 2)

Wildfire on the foothills of Baboquivari

Baboquivari wreathed in the smoke of the Elkhorn wildfire

They're calling it the Elkhorn Fire.

What you can't see above (because it's directly behind that smoke plume) is the distinctive sharks' tooth shape of Baboquivari.  The mountain peak is sacred to the Tohono O'Odham Indian Nation.

You can see it more clearly in the photo on the right, at the very top of the photo.

Crews work in shifts, and sleep in tents at the base campThe fire started yesterday, and is believed to have been caused by people. 

By seven last night, crews from as far north as Chandler, AZ were working out of a base camp near the entrance to the Elkhorn Ranch.

Last night, I drove 35 miles south to take photos of the fire, and sent them to KVOA-TV, Channel 4 in Tucson, where that one on top made the 10:00 news.

Firefighter rests after coming off the mountain.Today, reporter Tyler Wing of KVOA covered the story in detail, and included an interview with yours truly for the evening news. 

Weather yesterday and today has been dry, with wind gusts as high as 35 miles per hour.  Given the steep, rugged terrain, the primary concern in this sparsely inhabitated area is the safety of the firefighters.

Baboquivari painted purple at sunset

The fire has grown in size to 2,400 acres, and is only 5% contained as of this evening.

We can see Baboquivari from our little community of Tucson Estates 2, here on the western flank of the Tucson Mountains.  That's it on the right, painted in purple at sunset from a distance of 40 miles or so.

EDIT:  Monday, June 15th  The fire has grown to 5,400 acres, and is only 8% contained as of 6:00 p.m.  Winds are blowing south to north, and the smoke plume has reached Phoenix.

EDIT: Tuesday, June 16th  I heard on the radio just now that the fire has doubled in size to more than 10,000 acres. 

Wildfire On A Sacred Mountain: Baboquivari, Southwest of Tucson, AZ (2 of 2)

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Comment balloon 25 commentsMike Jones • June 15 2009 12:31AM
Wildfire On A Sacred Mountain: Baboquivari, Southwest of Tucson, AZ..
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