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KNAU's Morning Rundown: Friday, April 30

Fire In Kaibab NF Allowed To Burn, Officials Say

Kaibab National Forest officials say a lightning-caused fire that ignited this week south of Williams will be allowed to burn as a way to increase ecosystem resilience. The Thumb Flat Fire sparked about 18 miles south of Williams and has so far burned about 160 acres. Officials say they'll allow the fire to expand within an area of 475 acres. Prescribed burns in heavily forested areas can eliminate fuel — mitigating the effects of potential future wildfires. Smoke could be visible from Williams, Prescott, and Flagstaff.


Restaurant Revitalization Fund Opens For Federal Aid

The federal government opens registration today for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund; the initiative was passed through the American Rescue Plan and seeks to compensate restaurants for loss of revenue during the pandemic. The fund can provide up to $10 million for an individual business, according to theSmall Business Administration. Arizona’s restaurant industry provided 11% of the state’s employment opportunities in 2019, according to theNational Restaurant Association. The industry was also projected to grow before the pandemic hit. 


An October study from the Economic Policy Institute at Northern Arizona University found that 49% of businesses in Coconino County and Sedona had endured layoffs or furloughs, and that54% of the local businesses applied for some form of financial assistance.


Mask Mandate Rescinded In Camp Verde Schools 

The Camp Verde Unified School District School Board has voted to end a school mask mandate as vaccination rates rise across Yavapai County. CVUSD Superintendent Danny Howe tells KNAU masks will now be optional. The new measure went into effect Thursday. The move comes as schools across the state continue to mull reopening processes; Gov. Doug Ducey earlier this month rescinded a statewide mask mandate for schools. The Flagstaff Unified School District announced it would continue to require face coverings for students and staff.


Road Closures In Effect As Flag Fire 

The Bureau of Land Management has issued two road closures in Mohave County as the Flag Fire continues to burn southeast of Kingman. B-L-M officials say closures on roads 71-01 and 71-78 are now closed and cannot be accessed by the public. As of Friday morning, the Flag Fire has burned about1,300 acres and is 34% contained. Evacuations remain in effect for Pine Lake; residents in Atherton Acres and Pinion Pines remain in SET status and have been ordered to prepare for potential evacuation.


Ducey Uses Emergency Funds For Border, Sheriffs Disagree With Guard Presence

A state emergency council under Gov. Doug Ducey has approved nearly $2.8 million to fund the Arizona National Guard as 250 troops are stationed along the Arizona-Sonora border. Ducey says the funding comes from a state emergency allocation. The Governor has requested $25 million from the state to fund the National Guard’s work. Apprehensions along the border increased to historic highs in March; most migrants continue to be returned to Mexico under Title 42, a Trump-era policy enacted during the pandemic. The sheriffs of both Santa Cruz and Pima countiestold multiple media outlets this month they felt there was no need for the troops in southern border communities.