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Tunnel Fire afternoon update, Thursday, April 21, 2022: Ducey declares State of Emergency, evacuations remain in place

Tunnel Fire
Cheryl L. Miller-Woody via AP
Smoke from the Tunnel Fire fills the sky in Doney Park, outside Flagstaff, Ariz., on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. The wildfire doubled in size overnight after tearing through two-dozen structures and forcing the evacuation of more than 700 homes. The fast-moving wildfire on the outskirts of Flagstaff ballooned from over 9 square miles Tuesday evening to 26 square miles by Wednesday morning. (Cheryl L. Miller-Woody via AP)

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has declared a State of Emergency for the Tunnel Fire burning near Flagstaff in Coconino County. The designation will make available additional funding and resources to respond and recover from the fire’s damage.

Crews in Flagstaff continue to fight the Tunnel Fire northeast of the city. It has so far burned close to 21,000 acres.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement reiterating that existing evacuations remain in place until further notice.

Fire managers say homes and nearby watersheds are currently the main emphasis for firefighters.

Air crews have taken advantage of calmer-than-expected winds today to make large water drops on the fire. Hand crews completed a handline on the fire’s southern edge near the Pinnacle Peak powerline, and on the north edge below O’Leary Peak.

A Red Flag Warning is in effect for much of northern Arizona until 8:00 p.m. A Wind Advisory remains in effect for the region through Friday night.

Fire managers remind the public that private drones are not allowed to fly in and around the fire area. If one is spotted, it means all firefighting aircraft must be grounded for safety.

U.S. Highway 89 remains closed from milepost 425 to 435 and will likely be closed for the next several days.

The Red Cross has opened a shelter at Sinagua Middle School, and the Tunnel Fire Call Center is open evacuee information and assistance. That number is 928-679-8525. A Behavioral Health Crisis Hotline is also available at 877-756-4090.

Pets and livestock may be evacuated to the Coconino Humane Association on Butler Ave, and the Ft. Tuthill County Stables off or Highway 89A in Flagstaff. Hitching Post Stables is also taking horses.

Coconino High School in Flagstaff has opened its student Free Store to evacuees of the Tunnel Fire as many people fled the fire with no time to pack personal belongings.
The Free Store is located inside the high school at 2801 N. Izabel Street. For more information or questions, call during school hours, 928-773-8200 ext. 6420.

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