Agua Caliente Park opening later this month

At least 30 palm trees burned at Agua Caliente Park in Tucson on Wednesday, Sept. 28.
At least 30 palm trees burned at Agua Caliente Park in Tucson on Wednesday, Sept. 28.(Karen Delgado)
Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 2:57 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Roy P. Drachman-Agua Caliente Regional Park is slated to reopen in late November, two months after a lightning strike that set hundreds of palm trees on fire forced the park to close.

According to a news release from Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation, the park is scheduled to open on Nov. 28.

Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation director Vic Pereira commended the crews who made the reopening possible.

“We are pleased that crews have been able to work so efficiently and quickly,” he was quoted as saying. “To be able to open during the holiday season is beyond expectations.”

Since the fire on Sept. 28, a contacted arborist evaluated nearly 225 palm trees, 40 mesquite trees and other plants. Roughly 40 palm trees were removed due to safety concerns or because they were too charred to recover.

Parks and recreation officials plan to repurpose those palms for an erosion project at Bar V Ranch.

The fire also damaged two interpretive signs, four picnic tables, two trash cans, a bike rack and several external and internal irrigation systems. The damaged infrastructure will be repaired in phases over the next year.

At first, the spring, stream and former grass area along the entrance road will be off-limits to the public.

“It could have been a lot worse, and we are grateful that it wasn’t,” Pereira was quoted as saying. “Agua Caliente is a jewel in our park system, and we are ready to see it filled with visitors once again.”

Because restoration work is ongoing, the total cost of the project is unknown. Anyone who wants to help can donate to the Friends of Agua Caliente.