Evacuations ordered due to Tunnel Fire burning near Flagstaff
PHOENIX — The Tunnel Fire burning about 15 miles north of Flagstaff forced evacuations in some places Tuesday, authorities said.
Areas north of Lenox Road and south of Forest Service 545, including Wupatki Trails, were put into “GO” status at about noon, according to Coconino County Emergency Management.
Residents of the nearby Fernwood/Timberline area were on “GO” status at about 2 p.m.
The blaze grew to 6,000 acres by 5 p.m. and jumped U.S. 89 due to strong winds. Coconino County declared an emergency Tuesday as the fast-moving wildfire has forced 766 homes and 1,000 animals to be evacuated, officials said. A couple of hundred homes are still threatened.
Northbound U.S. 89 was closed at milepost 425 and southbound at milepost 435 about 1 p.m., the Arizona Department of Transportation said.
About 200 firefighters, 15 engines and three dozers were working the fire.
Air tankers were ordered earlier in the day but were diverted due to high winds that surpassed wind thresholds for air resource purposes.
Red Cross opened a shelter for those affected at Sinagua Middle School, located at 3950 E. Butler Avenue.
It was one of two fires so far this week in Arizona that have caused evacuations with northern parts of the state under a Red Flag warning due to high winds.
The Crooks Fire burning 10 miles south of Prescott on Monday forced residents of Mount Union, Camp Kiva and Mount Tridal to evacuate.
That blaze has burned 1,600 acres since its start Monday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.