New measurements show the Molyneux 3 fire has grown to 485 acres and is 48% contained; The lanes are closed

New measurements show the Molyneux 3 fire has grown to 485 acres and is 48% contained;  The lanes are closed

Updated September 11, 2023 at 9:00 AM

As of Saturday, September 9, the U.S. Forest Service reports the Molyneux 3 Fire is 48% contained, and says progress on suppressing the fire has stalled.

Three lanes and a shooting range along Catalina Highway remained closed, although the highway itself is open.

Lane closures:

  • Papad Dawag Trail No. 705
  • Soldier Trail No. 706
  • Molino Basin Road No. 1

Officials have not yet announced the cause of the fire.
Updated September 9, 2023 at 12:52 p.m

Coronado National Forest officials issued an update Saturday afternoon. They say the fire is currently at 485 acres, with 23% containment.

Updated September 8, 2023 at 6:10 p.m

Firefighters were busy in Mount Lemmon on Friday, working to contain the massive Molyneux 3 fire, which broke out in the Molyneux Basin early Thursday evening.

This afternoon, the Forest Service revised the size of the fire from 1,000 acres to 425 acres after a private plane made dozens of flybys, making more precise measurements than previously available.

The fire itself was difficult to see because it is located in a bowl-shaped area in the Molyneux Basin, blocking views in most directions. What KGUN 9 cameras were able to see throughout the day were several drops of fire retardant from the plane onto the damaged area.

“It’s very rugged terrain, and there are a lot of deep cracks,” said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Starr Farrell.

“So, it’s not a place where you’re going to come out and go for a walk. Now we have some trails that are closed, just because of the potential for interaction with firefighters moving in and out of the area, or the potential for that to happen.” “It caught fire. So there are some closures and those are listed on our Facebook page and on the Coronado National Forest website.”

For those curious about going up the mountain to see the fire, the Forest Service is discouraging people from making the trip up the Mount Lemmon Highway for fear they will interfere with emergency vehicles.

While trips are discouraged, the road itself remains open. People who need to drive on Mt. Call the Lemmon Highway Road Closure Hotline for updates at (520) 547-7510.

As of Friday evening, the following routes will be closed until Friday, September 15:

  • Papad Dog Road No. 705,
  • Molyneux Basin Road No. 11,
  • Soldier Trail No. 706

The recreational photography area along the highway has also been closed, the Coronado National Forest reports.

The cause of the fires is still under investigation.

Updated September 8, 2023 at 4:18 p.m

New burn zone measurements show about 425 acres burned in the Molyneux 3 fire.

Updated September 8, 2023 at 12:12 p.m

KGUN 9’s Craig Smith is on Mount Lemmon and will provide ongoing coverage of the firefighting efforts throughout the day.

The Coronado National Forest reports that air support is currently assisting with firefighting efforts. Additional support – from air and ground crews – is currently being deployed.

Traffic control is in effect on the Mount Lemmon Highway. Fire crews are asking the public not to drive on the highway, and not to hike in the Molyneux Basin area.

For real-time road closure updates, the public is encouraged to call (520) 547-7510.

Below is a view of smoke coming from Molino Basin on Mount Lemmon. As Craig Smith explains, the shape of the basin makes the fire itself inaccessible to our cameras at the moment.

Kejun 9 | Craig Smith

A view of the Molino 3 Wildfire from Houghton Road in Tucson showing smoke rising from the Molino Basin on Mount Lemmon.

Updated September 8, 2023 at 9:55 am

The Molino 3 Fire grew overnight to about 1,000 acres, and remains under 0% containment, the Coronado National Forest reported this morning.

An update from CNF says air support has been requested and is on its way. Crews are working on the ground along the northern and western edges of the fire. The fires are trending towards previous burn scars left by the Molyneux 1 and Molyneux 2 fires.

CNF reports that the Catalina Highway is currently open, with the Babad Do’ag Trail closed. Coronado National Forest officials say they plan to close Soldier Trail later in the day; Those hiking in the area are asked to leave.

CNF says the shooting area along the highway is currently closed.

Updated September 7, 2023 at 9:12 p.m

CNF says the fire has now spread to about 40-50 acres without containment.
The Coronado National Forest (CNF) responded to a fire dubbed the “Molino 3 Wildfire” in Santa Catalinas.

The Molino 3 Wildfire started around 5 p.m. on the ridgeline above Molino Basin, according to CNF, and near the Mount Lemmon Highway.

Rangers say about 10-15 acres are burning without containment. They say the cause is currently under investigation.

CNF asks the public to avoid the area. Drivers and cyclists should be careful on the road, as CNF says there will be an increase in fire traffic.

(Tags for translation) Coronado National Forest

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