TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Weather conditions are finally ideal for a prescribed burn in the Rincon Mountains. Saguaro National Park fire managers are conducting a prescribed burn on Mica Mountain in the SNP East District. Planned ignitions began on Tuesday, May 14, and may continue for up to three days.
The Mica Bowl Prescribed Burn area is divided into several burn units. Up to 541 acres may be treated with prescribed fire. Additional information, including a map and updates will be posted HERE.
The following trails will be closed during prescribed burn operations: Bonita, Spud Rock, Mica Mountain, Mica Meadow, Fire Loop Heartbreak Ridge, between the junctions of south Mica Mountain and Italian Spring, and the Arizona Trail and Fire Loop between the junctions of Cowhead Saddle and Italian Spring and Cowhead Saddle to Manning Camp.
Arizona Trail hikers should plan for temporary delays; however, fire managers will escort Arizona Trail hikers through the Arizona Trail / Fire Loop, between the junctions of Cowhead Saddle and Italian Springs and Cowhead Saddle to Manning Camp, when it is safe to do so.
Availability at the back country Manning Camp campground will be limited during the prescribed burn.
Due to the location of the burn on the highest peak of the Rincon Mountains, smoke will be visible from Tucson, Redington Pass, Benson, Mescal and Happy Valley during the prescribed burn. Smoke may temporarily drift downhill overnight in the Redington Pass, Rincon Creek and San Pedro River Valley drainages.
Smoke is expected to be present on back country trails within the vicinity of Mica Mountain for at least a week or until significant precipitation occurs. Back country campers could experience light to moderate smoke with greater concentration for those camping at Manning Camp and Spud Rock campgrounds especially during the early morning hours for two to five days following the completion of prescribed fire ignitions.
Vegetation in the area is predominately ponderosa pine. Elevation in the area ranges from approximately 7,950 to 8,670 feet. Lightning-ignited fires have historically burned through the high elevation ponderosa pine forests of southeastern Arizona, but past fire suppression has created unnatural conditions with build-ups of downed trees and dense underbrush in many places. Fire managers use low to moderate intensity prescribed fires to maintain healthy forests in the Rincon Mountains and to prevent large intense wildfires.
If you want to speak with an information officer, please contact Ali Bickford (520) 539-8065 or Cam Juárez (520) 306-6254. Or you can also get info from the Fire Information Hotline (520) 733-5150 (recorded message).