The 11,489-acre Contreras wildfire reached Tucson, Arizona’s Kitt Peak National Observatory, a key astronomical research site, early on Friday, June 17.
Recorded from the south view of the observatory, this timelapse footage shows the fire and heavy smoke getting closer to the center throughout the day on Thursday.
The fire began on June 11 and has been growing and spreading north due to “drought-stressed vegetation” and heavy winds, according to the National Science Foundation’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRLab), which runs the site.
Due to “steep and rugged terrain” it has been difficult for firefighters to manage the fire. But a crew of firefighters has been working to slow the advance and protect key instruments, such as telescopes, according to NOIRLab. Credit: Kitt Peak National Observatory via Storyful