On Saturday (June 18th), the fire subsided enough that Michelle Edwards, associate director of KPNO, and Joe Davis, safety manager, entered the property and found that the telescopes and domes were still standing. Unfortunately, some of the facilities were still inaccessible at the time, including the Nicholas U. Mayall 4-meter telescope. Many remained in active combustion zones until Sunday (June 19th), and fires at the McMath-Pierce solar telescope and the Windows on the Universe Center still require management.
KPNO, a sprawling campus on top of the mountain with more than two dozen active telescopes, will be out of operation and without power for several weeks, according to the report. Although the roads to the property have not been completely destroyed, safe access to all KPNO facilities for in-depth damage assessment can be a long process.
The Contreras fire continues to burn throughout the region, now affecting more than 18,000 acres, according to the latest incident report. Windy, dry conditions together with temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) feed the flames.
From Monday (June 20) c National Meteorological Service the forecast predicts a chance of rain on Keith Peak, starting on Tuesday (June 21st) and continuing throughout the week. According to the Eastern Zone Incident Management Team, “… as long as we are not out of danger, the situation is improving.”