Wildfire in Arizona Forces Thousands to Evacuate

County officials have declared a local emergency and FEMA authorized the use of federal funds to assist the state in combating the fire., officials said.

From the estimated 2,068 people living in the evacuation area, 766 households have been evacuated, along with over 1,000 animals, due to the fire, Coconino County Board of Supervisors Chair Patrice Horstman said at a press conference.

The Tunnel Fire, about 14 miles northeast of Flagstaff, was first reported on April 17 afternoon and it has quickly grown to 16,625 acres due to strong winds on April 20, according to InciWeb, a United States clearinghouse for wildfire information.

The fire has also threatened 150 business, local power and gas distribution networks, and various historical and cultural sites, the The Federal Emergency Management Agency said in a statement on April 19.

County officials have declared a local emergency and FEMA authorized the use of federal funds to assist the state in combating the fire.

The fire still had no containment as of April 20, InciWeb reported.

InciWeb added that it is expected to become windier on April 21 and 22 with gusts up to 50 miles per hour in most of northern Arizona.

Some 260 firefighters have been deployed to combat the flames, officials said.

A portion of U.S. Highway 89 in both directions north of Flagstaff will likely remain closed for the coming days due to the firefighting operations, officials said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, InciWeb reported.


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