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Contreras Fire

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Unit Information

P. O. Box 490 Sells Arizona 85634 
P. O. Box 490 Sells Arizona 85634 

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June 20 Fire Update

Contreras Fire
News - 06/20/2022


Fire Information: 520-302-5120 Media Information: 520-497-3625 

Twitter: @BLMAZFire Facebook: @TON.Emergency.Management or @blmarizona 


SUMMARY: The Contreras Fire started June 11 on a remote ridge of the Baboquivari Mountain range, north of the Baboquivari Peak, 20 miles east of Sells, Arizona, on the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation. 

TODAY: In previous updates, Hayhook Estates has inadvertently been called Cowtown. The correction has been made. Today will be the hottest and driest day on the fire before moisture returns to the area on Tuesday. As the week progresses, storms will have a higher likelihood of producing wetting rains. Today, lightning could create new fire starts in the area. Fire activity will increase with erratic outflow winds, higher temperatures and lower humidity. In the north portion of the fire, ground crews will be aided by heavy air operations dropping retardant and water to keep the fire south of Highway 86 and west of Pan Tak. Crews are working with the communities of Pan Tak and Hayhook Estates to develop a structure protection plan. These plans will remain with the communities and will be incorporated into their emergency response plans. West of Pan Tak and Pan Tak Pass, dozers and hand crews will remove brush and grass on existing road systems to reduce the threat of fire spread. The fire is expected to flank toward Kitt Peak Road and Coyote Mountain Wilderness due to a shift in winds. Crews will focus on defensive firing operations below Kitt Peak Observatory. On the east side of the fire, crews will actively scout and identify potential holding features such as roads, trail systems and other natural barriers, and monitor the fire as it moves downslope off Saucito Mountain. In the south, suppression repair will commence with the construction of water bars and other repair measures in and around Elkhorn Ranch. Very little smoke can be seen in the area. Monitoring of the fire in the south and the west will remain a priority, but very little fire activity is anticipated. 


Resources from the southern end of the fire near Elkhorn Ranch were shifted to the north end of the fire south of Hwy 86 to help with ongoing suppression efforts. Crews focused heavily on the area between Highway 86 and Kitt Peak as the fire grew in that area. From Pan Tak to Hayhook Estates, operations staff worked to develop structure suppression plans for the communities for future implementation. A structure group was stationed near Pan Tak in the event response was necessary. On Kitt Peak, crews completed defensive firing operations on the Observatory property and began mopup operations. Ahead of an anticipated active day of fire Monday, crews worked below Kitt Peak to create defensible space, removing highly flammable ground vegetation and constructing fire breaks. To the west, the fire was allowed to creep down the slope into more advantageous terrain that would allow crews to safely engage the fire if necessary. Engines and crews patrolled both the east and west flanks of the fire.  


Fire start date: June 11, 2022 Cause: Lightning Acres: 20,360, an increase of 3,079 acres from yesterday Containment: 40% Total Personnel: 350+ Jurisdiction: BIA, Papago Agency 



Crews: 8 

Engines: 19 

Water Tenders: 12 

Masticators: 2 

Helicopters: 7 


Evacuations: The Kitt Peak Observatory remains in GO status. The community of Pan Tak remains in GO status and has been evacuated. Hayhook Estates is now in READY status. Elkhorn Ranch is now in READY status.    Road Closures: Kitt Peak Road (State Route 386) remains closed.  Other Considerations: Drivers along Highway 86 are encouraged to remain aware of rapidly changing conditions, dense smoke and increased visual distractions from aerial operations.