Thousands of people have been forced to evacuate after the Arizona Tunnel Fire spread to more than 6,000 acres.
The Coconino National Forest Service issued a warning on Tuesday and discussed the difficulty of containing the fire.
“The Tunnel Fire, located 14 miles northeast of Flagstaff along US Highway 89, is over 100 acres and 0% containment,” the statement, released around noon Tuesday, said.
“The fire is rapidly spreading in a northeasterly direction due to high winds with medium to high range patches in the woods and grass. Area evacuations have been ordered and up-to-date evacuation information may be available. found via Coconino County.
“Although closing orders have not yet been issued, the public is urged to avoid the northern portion of US Highway 89 from Elden Springs Road to the tree line for safety reasons. On-site resources include three Type 1 crews, two bulldozers, two tankers and seven engines.
“This includes approximately 80 people. The fire was reported at 4.22pm on Sunday and its cause is being investigated.”
The Coconino National Forest Service also released a map showing the extent of the wildfire.
Around 6 p.m. Tuesday evening, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office released evacuation updates for several areas that may be affected by the wildfire.
They also showed a map of areas that need to be evacuated as part of the “Ready, Set, Go” evacuation program.
“Groom Creek is on SET status. Please be prepared to evacuate at all times. The following areas are on GO and must be evacuated,” the Facebook post said.
“Walker Road south of Lynx Lake, Breezy Pines, Potato Patch, Kamp Kipa, Lookout Mountain, Mt. Tritl, Mtn. Pines Acres.
“Even if you are not in one of the areas mentioned above, or believe you are not in the path of the current fire, YCSO still urges you to remember that all of Yavapai County has the potential for a wildfire. All it takes is a spark.”
Flagstaff Fire Management Officer True Brown spoke at the Tunnel Fire press conference on Tuesday and provided an update on the scope of the wildfire.
“At this time, the fire is currently estimated at over 6,000 acres, 0% contained,” he said.
“We currently have over 200 people actively working on the incident at this time. Including five manual crews, 15 engines and three bulldozers with more on order.
“That includes a mix of wildland engines and structures there, it’s a coordinated effort with all of those resources and partners that have been listed. The fire is moving rapidly northeast [due to] the strong winds we experienced today.
“We had aviation resources ordered and on site earlier in the day as this fire was moving, but we had to drop those resources due to the unprecedented winds we were experiencing there.”
He went on to say that their number one priority remained public safety, then private property. He also warned that smoke will be “pervasive” as crews attempt to deal with the wildfire.
Brown also reiterated the importance for the public to evacuate their homes if told to do so due to the immense speed of the wildfire.