Large plume of smoke over Tucson caused by controlled burn in Sweetwater Wetlands
A plume of smoke that was visible from areas around town on Thursday 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 the Mosquito Abatement Program. This year, the burn took place in two of the four basins and was held early enough that habitat can regenerate and be available during the winter migratory bird season, officials said.
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, part of the water treatment complex on the Northwest Side, will remain closed to the public until Friday.
Anyone sensitive to smoke or ash should avoid the area, officials said, or take precautionary measures. During the burn, people close to the controlled burn site may see smoke and light ash, and smell burning vegetation.
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 supported by readers like you.