/ Modified jun 19, 2022 5:41 p.m.

Contreras Fire burns more than 18,000 acres

Fire managers say the fire is more than 40% contained.

Kitt Peak Contreras Fire Kitt Peak observatory on June 19, 2022

Authorities say a lightning-caused wildfire that led to an evacuation of the national observatory southwest of Tucson is 40% contained.

More than 300 firefighters are working to suppress the wildfire Saturday.

If all goes as planned, authorities say the blaze could be fully contained by next Sunday. The wind-whipped fire started June 11 on a remote ridge on the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation, near Kitt Peak.

It had grown to 27.5 square miles before rain fell on the area Saturday. The fire was up to 29.4 square miles as of Sunday. Flames had reached Kitt Peak by Thursday, and officials ordered evacuations in a small community north of the mountain.

Fire managers reported that four buildings at Kitt Peak were destroyed including a dormitory but so far, there are no reports of buildings housing telescopes being damaged.

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