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Officials: 'Recreate responsibly' outdoors over July 4 weekend

Pima County, the Forest Service and others are urging everyone to be safe during their July 4th celebrations.

Due to an active wildfire season and the COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor enthusiasts are urged to practice personal responsibility.

“Before heading outdoors, keep in mind that, unfortunately, several spots are closed due to the Bighorn Fire,” said Karen Simms, Pima County Natural Resources division manager. “Mt. Lemmon is closed, as are portions of Coronado National Forest, including Sabino and Bear Canyon, as well as Catalina State Park.”

The Bighorn Fire near Tucson has claimed 118,370 acres in the Santa Catalina Mountains, but was 58 percent contained early Friday, according to InciWeb.

Local and national recreation areas are experiencing higher than normal use as people look for safe and healthy activities amid the pandemic, a Pima County news release said. And many areas have seen trash dumping and other damaging behavior.

Park officials ask that any visitors respect public lands and communities by practicing social distancing and picking up after themselves.

“This situation has been complicated further as the wildfire season in southeastern Arizona intensifies,” said Leah McGinnis, superintendent of Saguaro National Park. “We have a collective responsibility to care for these special places and each other. This is especially important to consider on July 4th weekend because of fireworks.”

Many Fourth of July celebrations across Pima County have been canceled or postponed due to weather risks due to the fire and social distancing regulations cross the state of Arizona.

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The city of Tucson is postponing the annual “A” Mountain Fireworks celebration, originally scheduled for the 4th of July, and Oro Valley is postponing fireworks.

The town of Marana has canceled their "Star-Spangled Spectacular," citing the new social distancing regulations established by Gov. Doug Ducey.

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

The Bighorn Fire is visible from townhouses near Ventana Canyon as the fire burns downslope. Fire officials said that crews may begin attacking the fire once in reaches flatter ground from the rugged canyon walls.