Fire managers at Saguaro National Park plan to conduct a prescribed burn on Mica Mountain in the Saguaro Wilderness of the Rincon Mountain District (Saguaro East) when conditions are favorable. The prescribed burn for Mica Bowl Units 3, 4 and 5 was originally planned for October 2018. However the area has recieved significant precipitation, so the project has been postponed until signficant drying occurs, likely sometime in the spring of 2019.
The Mica Bowl Prescribed Burn area is divided into several burn units. Up to 280 acres may be treated with prescribed fire. Ignitions may continue for approximately three to five days
The following backcountry trails will be closed during prescribed burn operations:
- Bonita Trail
- Spud Rock (between the junctions of Mica Mountain and Fire Loop)
- Mica Mountain
- Mica Meadow
- Fire Loop (between the junctions of Heartbreak Ridge and Italian Spring)
- *Arizona Trail / Fire Loop (between the junctions of Spud Rock & Italian Spring- indicated by yellow line on map)
*Arizona Trail hikers should plan for temporary delays; however, fire managers will escort Arizona Trail hikers through this area when it is safe to do so, but minor delays and temporary diversions should be expected. Trail closures will be assessed daily and will most likely be in effect for 3 - 5 days following prescribed fire ignitions.
Due to the location of the burn on the highest peak of the Rincon Mountains, smoke will be visible from Tucson, Redington Pass, Benson, and Happy Valley during the prescribed burn. Smoke may temporarily drift downhill overnight in the Redington, Rincon Creek, and San Pedro River Valley drainages.
Smoke is expected to be present on the backcountry trails in the Mica Mountain area for at least a week or until significant precipitation occurs. Campers at the Mica Mountain and Spud Rock campgrounds should expect moderate to heavy smoke, especially during the early morning hours for three to five days following ignitions.
Vegetation in the area is predominately ponderosa pine. Elevation in the area ranges from approximately 7,950 to 8,670 feet. Lightning-ignited fires have historically burned through the high elevation ponderosa pine forests of southeastern Arizona, but past fire suppression has created unnatural conditions with build-ups of downed trees and dense underbrush in many places. Fire managers use low to moderate intensity prescribed fires to maintain healthy forests in the Rincon Mountains and to prevent large intense wildfires.
Updates will be posted here. If you have questions, you can call 520-400-2932 to speak with a public information officer.
Fire Information on Inciweb
Arizona Fire Information
Southwest Coordination Center Fire Information (Saguaro National Park = AZ-SAP)
National Fire Information