Contreras Fire burns thousands of acres, reaches observatory

The Contreras Fire, which started June 11 about 8 miles southeast of Kitt Peak National Observatory, reached the location of several astronomical facilities early Friday morning, according to a statement from the University of Arizona.

According to Inciweb, a site that tracks wildfire activity, strong gusty winds developed overnight on Thursday, unexpectedly pushing the fire to the north and causing it to impact Kitt Peak around 2 am on Friday. As of Saturday, the fire had burned 17,646 acres.

Kitt Peak is the location of astronomical facilities managed by the University of Arizona Steward Observatory. Kitt Peak National Observatory is managed by NOIRLab.

“We are grateful to all who are working to fight the fire and help protect the facilities while keeping everyone safe. We are also proud of our staff who did their best to prepare our facilities before they were ordered to leave the mountain on Wednesday,” said University of Arizona president Robert Robbins.

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