Fire burning near San Xavier Mission will continue to send smoke over parts of Tucson

The blaze destroyed at least 5,000 bales of hay at the San Xavier Co-Op Farm
Published: Oct. 2, 2019 at 5:39 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Despite the fact the blaze has been contained, smoke from the 5,000-bale hay fire near San Xavier Road and Interstate 19 will continue to affect southern parts of Tucson for several days.

On Wednesday, Oct. 2, the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality issued an air pollution health watch because of the “smoke and the potential for elevated levels of particulate matter in certain areas of town, particularly west and southwest of Tucson.”

People with heart disease or respiratory sensitivities may want to avoid outside exercise or limit exertion if they are near the fire or smell smoke.

The blaze began at the San Xavier Co-Op Farm off Oidak Wog around 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

According to Drexel Fire District spokesperson Tracy Koslowski, no humans or animals were injured but several outbuildings and metal barns were destroyed.

Crews from Tohono O’odham, Drexel Heights, Pasqua Yaqui, Rural Metro, and Green Valley worked to contain the fire.

“The Nation is grateful that this major fire has been swiftly contained with no reported injuries," said Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris Jr. "The Tohono O’odham Fire Department and our partners from neighboring agencies did an admirable job protecting the public, and the Nation will be investigating the cause of this fire.”

Crews have scaled back operations now the fire has been contained and will monitor it as it burns out. The Nation has asked the public to avoid the area until it is completely extinguished.

According to the SG Hay Sales owner Chris Sullivan, a bale of hay goes for about $15 so the fire burned at least $75,000 worth of hay.

Thankfully, the historic San Xavier Mission was not threatened by the fire.

Stay with KOLD News 13 for more updates.

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