Pima County officials have issued mandatory evacuation orders for the Whetstone Ranch community south of Tucson due to a wildfire.

The Mulberry Fire sparked at about 2 p.m. Saturday and was burning thick grass and dense brush, said Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management spokeswoman Tiffany Davilla. She said there are about nearly 200 fire personnel and multiple ground and air resources currently working the fire, and more have been requested.

As of Saturday night, the fire was about 45 percent contained but continued to burn.

“Right now, the full focus is on structure protection and persons safety,” Davilla said. 

The fire is burning just off State Route 83 south of Tucson near Vail. The Pima County Sheriff’s Office issued the mandatory evacuation order for Whetstone Ranch and nearby ranchers and farmers.

Davila said about 20 residents have been evacuated. 

 The American Red Cross has set up an evacuation center at the Pima County fairgrounds. 

The fire had burned about 500 acres by early Saturday evening. The cause of the fire is unknown and currently under investigation.

There were no road closures Saturday night, but drivers were asked to avoid State route 83 in that area due to heavy smoke and traffic. 


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