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Tucson Arizona Temple prepares to evacuate as Bighorn Fire threatens

Temple received a ‘set-be alert’ notice on Wednesday evening

The Tucson Arizona Temple.
The Tucson Arizona Temple.
Intellectual Reserve Inc.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Tucson Arizona Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is under an evacuation watch as a wildfire in the nearby Catalina Mountains draws closer.

KGUN-TV has posted a dramatic photo of the Bighorn Fire raging behind the temple. The fire has burned nearly 5,000 acres and is 10% contained, the station reported.

“Currently the temple is not part on an evacuation order but the situation is being closely monitored,” church spokeswoman Irene Caso said. “We are grateful for those working diligently to protect homes and buildings in the area.”

The FEMA placed the temple under a “SET-be alert” notice on Wednesday evening, which means it must be ready to evacuate. Set is the second stage in Arizona’s Ready, Set, Go evacuation-alert system. Set means to be set to go and to maintain awareness of significant danger in the area, KVOA-TV reported.

KVOA published a map showing the area under the Set alert, including the temple.

The temple was temporarily closed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. It reopened on a restricted basis — wedding sealings only — with minimal staffing on May 18.