Pima County officials have issued mandatory evacuation orders for the Whetstone Ranch community south of Tucson due to a wildfire that has grown to 1,750 acres. 

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.

Saturday night, the fire was about 45 percent contained but continued to burn. Crews made significant progress overnight despite high winds in the area.

The fire continued to burn Sunday morning, Davilla said, through brush and tall grasses, fanned by the winds. 

The main priority for crews is securing homes in the area and working the northeast corner of the fire, she said. 

“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.

PCSO said a Type III Incident Management Team will assume command early Sunday morning and that PCSO will maintain security in the area. 

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. 

Visit myalerts.pima.gov for alerts on evacuations.

Return to azcentral.com for updates.


Arizona forest is on fire. On purpose. Here’s why

Border Patrol: Off-duty agent suspected of starting Sawmill Fire

Latest information on the Sawmill and Cactus fires


Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Read or Share this story: http://azc.cc/2p8vlWJ