Blaze near Arivaca may be tamed today
By Eric Swedlund
arizona daily star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 05.04.2006
Firefighters are working to contain a quick-moving blaze that started Wednesday morning near Arivaca and despite difficult weather conditions, could have it under control today.
The Black Mesa Fire was reported about 7:30 a.m., burning in grass, shrubs and mesquite trees about seven miles south of Arivaca, said Dean McAlister, fire management officer for the Coronado National Forest. The fire was about 200 acres late Wednesday. Arivaca is about 50 miles southwest of Tucson.
"We had pretty rapid growth with it," McAlister said. "We were fortunate there was nothing else going on in the Southwest region so we got the air attack."
Investigators have determined the fire was started by two illegal immigrants who lit a small fire for heat and another to attract attention for an injured person. Firefighters used numerous planes in the initial attack, including a heavy air tanker to box in the fire. Two other planes and two helicopters were also used, McAlister said. Two additional heavy air tankers will be assigned to the blaze today.
One hotshot team and a hand crew from Northwest Fire/Rescue District are battling the fire, with six fire engines on the ground. No structures were immediately threatened.
Despite the quick-moving fire and difficult conditions expected, firefighters could have the blaze contained by today, McAlister said.
"The fuels are light grass and mesquite so it's one of those things where you snuff it and it goes out pretty quick," he said.
Low humidity and 20 mph winds hampered firefighters' efforts somewhat and conditions are expected to worsen today.