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GV News: Border Patrol confirms off-duty agent tied to Sawmill Fire

The Tucson Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol confirmed Thursday that the investigation into the Sawmill Fire involves one of their off-duty employees, the Green Valley News reported.

An email from the sector's public affairs office said, "We are aware that the Sawmill fire investigation involves an off-duty Tucson Sector Border Patrol agent. The agent was involved in recreational shooting and immediately reported the fire after it begun. All questions regarding the investigation should be directed to the state fire agency."

Other sources had confirmed Tuesday to the Green Valley News and Sahuarita Sun that a man target shooting on state land east of Green Valley started the Sawmill Fire on Sunday that has burned nearly 47,000 acres. The newspaper was the first to report that a target shooter had sparked the blaze.

The man was firing at exploding targets when brush apparently ignited near Box Canyon and Santa Rita Ranch at about 11 a.m. He tried to put out the blaze, then called to report it. He later turned himself in, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Read more details at Border Patrol says off-duty employee tied to Sawmill Fire

The fire has burned about 47,000 acres southeast of Tucson. Officials said Thursday that the fire was about 40 percent contained, with 800 personnel working the blaze, including aircraft and ground crews. Wind gusts of up to 35 mph hampered efforts to halt the fire Thursday, but there was "minimal fire activity." Officials increased their assessment of containment from the 20 percent reported Wednesday.

The size of the burned-out area was estimated to be 46,954 acres, up from about 40,000 acres Wednesday night.

With winds and low humidity continuing Friday, there is still a high potential for "extreme fire behavior," officials said Thursday night. relies on contributions from our readers to support our reporting on Tucson's civic affairs. Donate to today!
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The firefighting effort has cost about $1.6 million thus far, the Green Valley News reported.

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1 comment on this story

Apr 27, 2017, 9:27 pm
-1 +0

Our Firefighters need your help:
The Sawmill Fire is burning just South of Tucson and winds have quickly helped it spread fast. Yesterday, the fire doubled in size, reaching over 40,000 acres with 20 percent containment. Over 600 Wildland firefighters are working 24-hour shifts.
Every fire agency that supports our JTED fire program has firefighters deployed at this fire and they need our help. Here is a list of items we as the JTED community can gather to help provide for our fire community:
· Foot powder
· Cotton/wool socks
· Moleskin
· Bug repellent
· Chap stick
· Bandanas
· Sunscreen
· Small personal first aid kits
· Baby wipes
· Dental floss
· Toothpaste
· Lotion
· Pen and notepad
· Trail mix/snacks
· Candy (no chocolate)
· Gum
If you need help getting the items (help shopping) or delivering them please let Jeremey Lasher know (520) 609-7641 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). I’m happy to run around and pick up items or if you can please drop items off to our JTED Fire Program at either our JTED @ Master Pieces Campus (2855 W. Master Pieces Drive) or our JTED @ Camino Seco Campus (8727 E. 22nd Street).
If you have questions, please email Instructor Billie Moon .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
Thank you.
Sawmill FIRE AZ

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Paul Ingram/

Some of the 40,000 acres burned in the Sawmill Fire.