Strong winds, dry air fuel tunnel fire in northern Arizona
Photo: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images
A tunnel fire, which has been under blaze in northern Arizona’s Coconino County for at least a week, has burned more than 21,000 acres.reported the US Forest Service.
So far, the department has said barely 3% of the fire has been contained, as strong winds and dry air currents from the north and northwest have fanned the flameshampering firefighters’ efforts to control it, administrators explained, adding that crews were repositioning to respond.
Bulldozers and ground crews were also working to build fire lines to stop or slow the spread of the fire, authorities said.
As of Saturday morning, Coconino County had 334 people on site with resources including 18 engines, nine crews, five bulldozers, three helicopters and one air attack aircraft.
The flares began Sunday just north of Flagstaff. Nearly two dozen buildings were destroyed, and hundreds of homes near Flrastaff were ordered evacuated earlier in the week.
At this time it has not been determined what could have caused the fire and is under investigation, and US Highway 89 remains closed from mileposts 425 to 445.
Likewise, some parts of the Coconino National Forest are also closed, according to the United States Forest Service.
The Forest Service advised drivers not to take Forest Road 244A in order to avoid the closure of US 89.
“Maps are redirecting people around the fire using Forest Service roads, but those roads are NOT SAFE and are blocked,” the agency wrote on Twitter.