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Large plume of smoke over Tucson caused by controlled burn in Sweetwater Wetlands

A large plume of smoke that was visible from Tucson Midtown and the Northwest and West sides on Wednesday came from a controlled burn of the Sweetwater Wetlands, Tucson officials said.

The Tucson Fire Department and Tucson Water said that the burn was part of Tucson Water’s Mosquito Abatement Program. The 17-acre burn is a larger-than-usual burn, officials said, as it’s the first burn of its kind since March 2020.

The two Tucson city departments have been doing annual controlled burns at the wetlands since 1999 to control invasive flora and fauna and to train regional wildland firefighters. The wetlands will remain closed to the public until Thursday.

Anyone sensitive to smoke or ash should avoid the area, officials said, or take precautionary measures. Prevailing winds were expected to come from the southwest.

Mail notifications about the burn went out to residents and businesses living within a one-mile radius of the burn. The Sweetwater Wetlands are west of Prince and Interstate 10.

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

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