Fire Shuts Down Kitt Peak  Arizona

National Observatory in

A wildfire shut down all

operations at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona, home to one of the largest collections of astronomical instruments

The National Science Foundation, 

made the announcement on Thursday (June 16) as the Contreras Fire approached observatory buildings

NSF wrote of the fire

"It is burning grass and brush in steep and rugged terrain that is difficult for firefighters to access," 

All staff was ordered off

 the mountain at 4:45 p.m. local time on June 15, following activities by a skeleton crew who did "safing of telescopes

Hydrants have been tested

and fire hoses deployed. The firefighters are dropping large amounts of fire retardant on the southern end of the observatory

Increasing severe weather 

across the US, associated with human-driven global warming, has threatened other observatories in recent years.

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