Arizona fire may have caused heat damage to telescope

Posted at 1:26 PM, Jun 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-23 16:26:39-04

A wildfire may have caused heat damage last weekend to one of the research telescopes northeast of Tucson on Mount Graham.

 Paul Gabor, an astronomer who serves as vice director of the Vatican Observatory, says the Frye Fire burned within probably 30 feet of the building, but didn't cause the structure to catch fire.

Fire conditions are preventing the telescope operators from examining the interior of the building.

But Gabor suspects the heat may have damaged metal on the building's exterior.

He also is concerned that smoke may have entered the structure and damaged electronic equipment and mirrors on the telescope.

Gabor hopes to inspect the building next month.

The lightning-started Frye Fire has been burning since June 7 and has charred nearly 46 square miles.