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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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I'm Mike in Tucson, your preferred Tucson, AZ Mortgage lender.
Mike Jones (Tucson Mortgage Company, LLC): Loan Officer in Tucson, Pima County, Arizona
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Photos copyright Mike in Tucson

Comment balloon 25 commentsMike Jones • June 15 2009 12:31AM

Comments

Mike- Do you think the smoke from the fire could have reached all the way to the Kingman area? I just drove through there from Flagstaff and it looked very smokey!

You have some wonderful photos and I hope everything is OK down there!

VB

Posted by Robert Vegas Bob Swetz almost 11 years ago

So that's how the TV stations get artistic!

Well done I hope they mention your business as well as your name.

Bill

Posted by William J. Archambault, Jr. (The Real Estate Investment Institute ) almost 11 years ago

Bill,

No, they didn't mention my business, but I have some great new relationships!

Robert,

Thanks for being the first to comment.  It's not often that someone edges out Bill Archambault.  LOL

The smoke stretched as far north as the eye could see last night before sunset, so it could be possible.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) almost 11 years ago

I am still on vacation at Hilton Head Island. I had a few minutes with my cofee to stop by and say hello. Have a great week.

Posted by Chip Jefferson (Gibbs Realty and Auction Company) almost 11 years ago

Mike hopefully no homes get caught up in this fire and the firefighters get control of it pretty quickly.

Posted by Dan Callahan (Callahan's Home Inspections) almost 11 years ago

GOOD MORNING MIKE!  I was long gone last night at 10pm - but I'll turn on the early news and see if they show them again. I'm lucky you write posts like this because I don't watch the news very much!  Thanks for sharing this! -- Gab

Posted by Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind, Broker/Owner (KGC Properties LLC, Tucson Property Management & Real Estate) almost 11 years ago

Well, well, well!  First you are a potential felon being stopped in the night for questioning ... and now you're a television personality with the scoop on the wildfire!  What are we going to do with you?  LOL  As always, great photos and great story.  Thanks for being there to cover this for us that are many miles away.

BTW - I fully intend to get out there, but it's going to have to be when the budget will withstand it.  :)

Posted by Carol Smith (Casmi Photography) almost 11 years ago

Carol,

It pays to have my camera with me!

Gabrielle,

You're welcome!  I wonder if the smoke has reached Summerhaven?

Dan,

No structures have been involved to date, but one firefighter was taken to the hospital by ambulance on Saturday night around 8:00 p.m.

Laura,

Here's hoping your vacation is fantastic!

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) almost 11 years ago

Mike- Congratulations on a great opportunity. 

I hope they are able to get the fire contained shortly with minimal damage.

Posted by Kim Peasley-Parker (AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc.) almost 11 years ago

Great photos the are all spectacular but I like the purple mountians majesty best!  Thanks

Posted by Diane Daley (Caron's Gateway Real Estate) almost 11 years ago

No publicity is bad publicity right??  Free advertising...Im surprised you werent out being interviewed with your TUCSON MORTGAGE CAR MAGNETS ON in the background!!!!

Hey, my parents saw you on TV!  They were surprised!  THey thought YOUR home might be in danger....I dont they knew you were a fire chaser!

Take care!

Darin

Posted by Darin Osenberg (Funky Quail Vintage) almost 11 years ago

Darin,

Whenever I see something interesting, the camera comes out.  It was my wife's idea to send the photos to the TV station.  I did that at 9:30 p.m., and made the 10:00 news.  The live interview came about because the station sent their reporter to follow up on my lead.

It's good to see you!

Caron,

I'm glad you like the photo!

Kim,

This evening, the western sky is filled with smoke as far as the eye can see.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) almost 11 years ago

Mike - Your amazing pictures are both stunning and frightening at the same time.  I'll bet the TV station was glad to have your photos.  We are seeing many more viewer sent photos and video on our local stations too.  Somehow they provide a prospective a little different from your standard news reporting. . .And that is a good thing!

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) almost 11 years ago

Dramatic photos of the fire. I can't imagine the difficulty of fighting a fire in the mountains.

Posted by Terry & Bonnie Westbrook, Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re (Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner) almost 11 years ago

Unusually cool and wet weather has kept us without major fires this year up north. By the way, I notice you are close to flipping over to #1 in Arizona on Active Rain -- keep it up!

Posted by Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales (Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties) almost 11 years ago

Ann,

I appreciate the vote of encouragement!

Terry,

So far, there have been no serious injuries among the firefighters.

Myrl,

Digital photography makes it easy to participate in the news process.  Thanks for commenting.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) almost 11 years ago

Mike, I hope it does not get as wild or as large as the Rodeo-Chediski Fire.

Posted by Sun City Grand Homes Surprise AZ Real Estate Leolinda Bowers Designated Broker Leolinda Realty, Sun City Grand in Surprise Arizona (Leolinda Realty) almost 11 years ago

Mike, I do hope that they can contain it soon, before it really spreads!

Posted by Tony & Darcy Cannon, The C Team (Aubrey and Associates Realty) almost 11 years ago

COOL!  Hey, you knew I was giving you a hard time right??  LOL

D

Posted by Darin Osenberg (Funky Quail Vintage) almost 11 years ago

Darin,

No worries, mate!  I'm going back down this evening to take more photos; it seems to be getting out of hand at more than 10,000 acres!

Tony & Darcy,

Me too!

Leolinda,

Thanks for the link!  Hopefully they get this one under control.  Winds are down today.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) almost 11 years ago

I'm sure the devastation is horrible; however, the pictures are gorgeous.

Tina in Virginia

Posted by Tina Merritt, Virginia Real Estate (Nest Realty) almost 11 years ago

Mike, I am so sorry to hear this and the pictures you got are amazing.  I have been to Arizona several times and love it there but have not yet been to Tucson and I wasn't aware of this mountain...or the importance of it.  I hope they get it under control very soon.

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) almost 11 years ago

Carole,

I went back this evening, and will have another post on the fire.  You'll have to make sure to visit Tucson!

Tina,

They're using the fire to create some controlled burns.  BLM is involved.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) almost 11 years ago

:(

Posted by Doreen McPherson, Phoenix Arizona Real Estate ~ (Homesmart ~ Scottsdale ~ Tempe) almost 11 years ago

Doreen,

The fire is nearly out as of this afternoon.  Almost all of the assets have been redeployed, and the Forest Service says that the Baboquivari Wilderness area is better for it.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) almost 11 years ago

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