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Smoke over Catalinas from controlled burn 25 miles away in Graham County

A prescribed burn in the Coronado National Forest sent a plume of smoke over the Santa Catalina Mountains that was visible from Tucson on Tuesday afternoon. The smoke came from fires set to thin forests in the southwest portion of the Galiuro Mountains in Graham County.

The Safford Ranger District started the Redfield Prescribed Fire on Tuesday and said operations will continue throughout the week. The ranger district expects the controlled burns in the area to continue to the end of the month.

The prescribed burns will be set across 7,000-15,000 acres of national forest lands as part of the Galiuro FireScape Project. Rangers expected smoke to be visible from the Sulphur Springs Valley and Bonita, Willcox, Safford, Benson, San Manuel, Oracle, Klondyke and the surrounding areas, according to the Safford district.

The area is on the other side of the San Pedro Valley, on the slopes of the range opposite the Catalinas about 25 miles northwest of Tucson.

A forest closure is in effect in parts of the national forest around the prescribed burn area. The national forest district is working with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, Bureau of Land Management and The Nature Conservancy.

Bennito L. Kelty is TucsonSentinel.com’s IDEA reporter, focusing on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access stories, and a Report for America corps member supported by readers like you.

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U.S. Forest Service

A 2016 controlled burn in the Kaibab National Forest.