4 buildings at observatory in Arizona lost in wildfire

Four unscientific buildings at the Kitt Peak National Observatory southwest of Tucson were lost in a wildfire, but early indications show other buildings on the property appear undamaged

TUCSON, Ariz. — Four unscientific buildings at the Kitt Peak National Observatory southwest of Tucson were destroyed in a wildfire, but early indications show other buildings on the property appear undamaged, it said Saturday authorities.

Buell T. Jannuzi, who heads the University of Arizona’s astronomy department, said the fire did not appear to have damaged the observatory’s telescope and science buildings, although closer examination of the site has not yet been carried out. to security concerns.

“This is the most threatening fire I can remember at Kitt Peak in the past 25 years,” Jannuzi said.

The fire reached the observatory early Friday. Crews planned to assess the damage at the observatory later on Saturday if conditions allowed safe entry into the area.

Kitt Peak National Observatory is operated by NOIRLab, the National Science Foundation’s center for ground-based optical-infrared astronomy. The University of Arizona, which has had a telescope on the site since 1962, is a tenant of the observatory.

The lightning-caused fire, which led to the evacuation of the observatory earlier this week, had spread to 27 square miles (71 kilometers) by Saturday. There has been no containment of the fire, which began June 11 on a remote ridge on the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation.

In northern New Mexico, authorities concerned about the threat of flooding after wildfires as the state enters the monsoon season have warned residents of San Miguel and Mora counties to be prepared to evacuate due to the risk of flooding, reported the Albuquerque Journal.

The largest area at risk of flooding is where a fire that started two months ago has so far burned 533 square miles (1,381 square kilometers). The fire is 72% contained.

And in southwest Alaska, officials say the immediate threat has shifted to communities near St. Mary’s from a fire that as of Saturday had grown to 248 square miles (643 square kilometers).

Leave a Comment