Mt. Lemmon businesses prepare for Bighorn Fire

Bighorn Fire update 10 p.m. June 15

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - It’s an uphill battle for those on Mt. Lemmon.

The Bighorn fire has become another setback to the businesses still trying to recover from COVID-19.

Especially for Justin Hafner, owner of the up and coming Mt Lemmon Hotel, who’s planned on opening up bookings this weekend. How he's having to push back opening day even farther.

"It doesn’t give us the confidence to open up for bookings yet. And we already delayed opening up the website for bookings once because of COVID," said Hafner.

His nine cabins are being built off site in Phoenix, so luckily they’re not in danger of burning down. Hafner also moved several of his heavy machinery down the mountain to keep it safe as well.

Sitework for the new hotel is still continuing although it is much slower. Hafner worries if the fire continues, there might not be much of a sight left to see.

"Long term--if there’s a destructive up on the mountain it could change the entire ambiance of why people come up to Mt. Lemmon," said Hafner.

The flames have the General Store getting ready once again.

"I think that we have the essentials and we’re ready to go," said Owner Grey Carpenter. "There have been other evacuations that have happened since then and it’s sort of a semi-regular occurrence up there.”

The Mt. Lemmon General Store burned down during the Aspen fire of 2003 and took a year to rebuild.

They’re hoping to avoid that with the Bighorn fire, but Carpenter said they’ve prepared for the worst.

"We think we’ve prepared as best we can with that. The structure is covered, the contents are covered and a number of other things. So if the worst case scenario happens, I think we’ll be okay," said Carpenter.

And as fire fighters work to gain control, businesses will try to find a way to the other side of two things out of their hands.

"These things are once in a lifetime events, acts of god whatever you call it. You can only prepare so much for things of this magnitude," said Hafner.

Hafner said they aren’t sure when they will be able to officially open for bookings but to check HERE for updates.

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