12 people evacuated from Santa Rita Ranch
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Ariz. – A fire reported at noon Sunday just north of Madera Canyon and about 10 miles east of Green Valley mushroomed into 1,500 acres by evening and was only 5 percent contained, a fire official said.
Twelve people were evacuated from the Santa Rita Ranch after Green Valley Fire District firefighters arrived and began aggressively taking measures to protect structures, said L.T. Pratt, the district’s public information officer. No structures were lost.
About 100 firefighters from four other area departments and state and federal officials are involved in battling the blaze, named the Sawmill Fire. Two heavy-duty tankers and a helicopter also aided firefighters Sunday afternoon, Pratt said.
The Green Valley district set up the initial command center for the blaze, but state Department of Forestry took over command around 4 p.m. when the fire crossed into state property, Pratt said. Federal officials will take charge Monday morning now that the fire has moved into the “heavy timber and pretty treacherous terrain” of Madera Canyon, a part of the Coronado National Forest.
A Forest Service road over the Santa Ritas from Arizona 83 at Greaterville has been closed, Pratt said.
The cause of the fire, which started by the Box Canyon Road near the University of Arizona Experimental Range, is under investigation.
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