Fire managers anticipate minimal Deer Head Fire activity to continue due to increased monsoon moisture. Pockets of heavy dead and down fuels in the interior of the burn may creep and smolder until the area receives significant precipitation, and they are extinguished. The fire remains at approximately 1,097 acres and is 75% contained. All Rincon Mountain District backcountry closures will remain in effect for the duration of the Deer Head Fire to ensure public safety. This will be the final update unless significant changes occur.
Approximately 10 personnel, including the seven-person Saguaro Wildland Fire Module and local overhead resources, will continue to staff the Deer Head Fire. Firefighters will continue rehabilitation activities on inactive portions of the fire, as weather allows.
Saguaro National Park Acting Superintendent Scott Stonum expressed gratitude to incident personnel, cooperators, contractors, park staff, friends and neighbors, stating “we thank everyone who assisted and supported the park in managing the Deer Head Fire, especially the Rincon Valley Fire District, Arizona Department of Transportation, Arizona State Forestry Division, the U.S. Forest Service, in particular the Coronado and Sequoia National Forests, the Bureau of Land Management, our sister national parks and the Saguaro National Park staff.”
The lightning-ignited Deer Head Fire was first reported on July 24. The fire is located in the federally-designated Wilderness area of the Rincon Mountain District of Saguaro National Park. Elevation of the fire area ranges from approximately 7,000 to 8,400 feet. Vegetation in the area includes ponderosa pine, oak and brush. The area has burned nine previous times since 1937, most recently during the 1994 Rincon Fire.
Fire is a natural and essential renewal process in the forested ecosystems of Saguaro National Park.
Frequent, low to moderate intensity fires, in woodlands and forests, recycle nutrients back into the soil. Fires reduce pine needles, leaves, grass, downed logs, seedling trees, and shrubs on the forest floor to nutrient-rich ash, which fertilizes the soil. Many fire-adapted plants depend upon fire for germination and growth. Large trees usually survive. In places, fire can move into the forest canopy, killing trees, which are rapidly replaced by new plant growth that thrives on sunlight. A variety of fires on the landscape, over time, results in a shifting mosaic of vegetation that creates diverse habitat for wildlife. Many animals like to forage along the edges of burned areas and find cover in unburned areas. Standing dead trees provide habitat for cavity-nesting birds.
For additional fire information visit: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/ or: http://Facebook.com/SaguaroNationalPark or call the Fire Information Hotline at (520) 733-5150.
To learn more about fire management at Saguaro National Park, visit https://www.nps.gov/sagu/learn/photosmultimedia/Fire-Management-at-Saguaro-N.P..htm
A map showing the history of fire in the Rincon Mountains, 1937- Present, is available at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/maps/3999/.