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Contreras Fire forces evacuations on Tohono O'odham Nation, burns buildings at Kitt Peak National Observatory


A lightning-caused wildfire burning in southern Arizona southwest of Tucson forced evacuations of a small community on the Tohono O’odham Nation Friday.

The Contreras Fire is burning in the Baboquivari Mountain range, east of Sells. This weekend it burned four buildings at the Kitt Peak National Observatory.

The Head of the University of Arizona’s astronomy department says the telescope and science buildings appear to be intact. U of A is a tenant of the observatory and has had a telescope at the site since 1962.

More than 300 firefighters along with five helicopters are working the blaze, which is now 40% contained at just over 20,000 acres, according to Inciweb.