Arizona towns ordered to evacuate as wildfire grows

by Garry Watts May 3, 2018, 9:30
Arizona towns ordered to evacuate as wildfire grows

A total of 1,000 structures are threatened by the Tinder Fire, KNXV-TV reports, and about 500 personnel, including 7 hotshot crews, are fighting the blaze.

An Arizona public utility also announced Sunday that it would be de-energizing about 1,500 customers in the Blue Ridge community in response to the Tinder Fire outbreak.

Arizona Department of Transportation has closed State Route 87 between Payson and Winslow due to the Tinder Fire burning in the Coconino National Forest. "Coconino County will be assessing damages and providing updates as soon as they're able to do so". Blue Ridge area residents can call the County's Call Center, 928-679-8393, with questions about evacuations and structures. Residents are advised to evacuate north on State Hwy 87 as southbound roads are now closed. An evacuation site was set up at a Navajo casino resort, after being moved from a junior high school because of smoke.

Smoke from the fire may increase as winds pick up. As of Monday afternoon, the fire was at 0% containment and threatening 1,000 homes in the area.

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Coconino National Forest officials say significant fire growth occurred Sunday and prompted evacuations as high winds drove the fire into communities to the north and east. The fire is over 11-thousand 400-acres burned near the C.C. Cragin ReservioR.

The fire is under investigation but believed to be caused by a human.

Residents were encouraged to travel northbound on Highway 87 to Winslow.

"The closure stretches from milepost 290 at Clints Well to milepost 312, two miles north of the Elks Picnic Grounds", read the site Monday morning.

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