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Mt. Lemmon's Molino Basin on fire Sunday night

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The Molino Fire burning in the Santa Catalina Mountains in the Coronado National Forest Sunday Night. - Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

More by Paul Ingram

A ridgeline along Molino Basin glowed as the Molino Fire consumed at least 318 acres Sunday, forcing the evacuation of the campground and the closure of Catalina Highway up to Mt. Lemmon.

The fire was spotted Sunday afternoon around 3:30 p.m., and Catalina Highway has remained closed to through traffic since Sunday night at Mile Marker 0, just past Mount Lemmon Short Road, in the northeast part of Tucson. 

By midnight, the fire was clearly visible from neighborhoods in northeast Tucson.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, and about 70 people are currently working the fire along Catalina Highway, providing "point protection" for the Molina Basin campground. 

"The fire is moving through steep, rugged terrain and the safety of firefighters and the public is the number one priority," officials said. 

Residents and employees of businesses at the top of the mountain are allowed to travel Catalina Highway, but will need to provide proof of residence or employment, authorities said. Vehicles traveling through the area should drive slowly and turn headlights on for safety, officials said. 

Those with questions can contact the Pima County Sheriff's Department for more information at 520-547-7510. 

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