Fuel Loads and Moisture Influence Deer Head Fire

Deer Head Fire and Previous Burns

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News Release Date: August 11, 2014

Contact: Fire Information Hotline, (520) 733-5150

Tucson, AZ – The Deer Head Fire remains at approximately 1,097 acres and is 55% contained.

The fire's eastern flank remains active, and firefighters continue to direct the fire's spread away from sensitive resources such as the historic Manning Camp. The park's strategy is to keep the fire east of Heartbreak Ridge.


On Sunday, firefighters began rehabilitating trails and fire lines within previously burned areas of the fire, which are no longer active, and continued to monitor the fire's behavior, to ensure that the fire remained in an area where they could safely manage it. Firefighters continue to manage the fire for multiple objectives, and will take action, as needed. This low to moderate intensity surface fire is benefitting a fire-adapted ecosystem by clearing the forest floor of brush, grass, and ponderosa pine and oak litter, improving wildlife habitat and reducing hazardous fuel loads.


Park staff have been able to observe differences in Deer Head Fire behavior as the fire has progressed through previously burned areas. The Deer Head Fire burned itself out within a few hours when it reached the 2010 Mica prescribed fire area, due to the reduced fuel load. The Deer Head Fire did not spread after four days once it had burned into the 2004 Devil's Bathtub prescribed fire area, and burned itself out when it ran out of fuel. The Deer Head Fire continues to burn in the 1994 Rincon Wildfire area, where plants have had a longer time to regenerate and grow, and fuel loads are higher.


Increasing moisture and humidity have slowed the fire's progression in recent days and similar conditions are expected to persist throughout the week. The fire area received 0.09" of precipitation on Sunday. The weather forecast is for isolated to scattered afternoon and evening thunderstorms this week, with 30% chance of precipitation on Monday, increasing to 40% on Monday night and 60% on Tuesday.


The lightning-caused fire is located in the federally-designated Wilderness area of the Rincon Mountain District of Saguaro National Park. Lightning-ignited fires are important in maintaining healthy forests in the mountains of southern Arizona. Fire historically burned through the high elevation ponderosa pine forests of southeastern Arizona every few years.


All Rincon Mountain District backcountry closures will remain in effect for the duration of the Deer Head Fire to ensure public safety.


For additional fire information visit: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/ or: https://Facebook.com/SaguaroNationalPark or call the Fire Information Hotline at (520) 733-5150.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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3693 S Old Spanish Trail
Tucson , AZ 85730


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