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KNAU's Morning Rundown: Tuesday, May 11

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Fire Grows In Crown King Area; Evacuations Remain Effective

 

The Tussock Fire burning south of Crown King has increased to more than 4,400 acres and is zero percent contained, according to a spokesperson for the Prescott National Forest. Evacuations remain in place for the communities of Minnehaha, Horse Thief Basin and Fort Misery.

 

Crown King residents are in SET mode and should be prepared to evacuate if the order is called, county officials say. A shelter remains open at Mayer High School. The fire’s cause remains under investigation. Forest managers say low humidity Monday night caused the fire to spread further.

Pop-Up Vaccinations Continue As Administration Rates Decline

Coconino County will hold a pop-up vaccination clinic tomorrow morning in Flagstaff.  County officials say no appointments are required; they’ll offer doses of both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the corner of Phoenix and South Milton avenues. 

 

County officials estimate 47.7% of the county’s population has received at least one dose of vaccine. Administration rates, however, have generally declined according to county data, following a statewide and nationwide trend of decreasing demand for the vaccine. The county administered an estimated 1,864 vaccine doses on March 23, and an estimated 1,310 doses on April 23.

Navajo Nation Rolls Out New Retirement Plan

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, along with the Tribal Council are rolling out a new retirement plan amid the continuing pandemic. The Enhanced Retirement Program allows certain Navajo Nation employees to add three years of service when determining their retirement benefits; tribal officials say the incentive will increase the lifetime benefits of a retiree by several percentage points. The voluntary plan applies to employees who’ve worked 10 years or more and are 60 and older, along with certain recent retirees. 

President Nez says the program could allow at-risk individuals to retire earlier, reducing possible spread of COVID-19.

Prescott National Forest Begins Fire Restrictions 

A spokesperson for Prescott National Forest says the area will launch stage-one fire restrictions beginning Friday, May 14 at 8:00 a.m. The local restrictions will prohibit any fire activity outside designated structures and areas; smoking is also prohibited, with exemptions in certain spaces. Fire use is permitted only in structures designated in the Bradshaw and Verde ranger districts. The restrictions come as Arizona officials forecast an active and early fire season. More than half a dozen wildfires are burning in the state, according to the Bureau of Land Management — including the growing Tussock Fire south of Crown King and a mostly contained Flag Fire south of Kingman.

Electric Vehicle Chargers Set For Sedona 

Sedona officials say they’re installing public stations for electric vehicle charging in the city — a component of Sedona’s Sustainable Tourism Plan. A city sustainability coordinator says the free charging stations will allow the city to track its reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; city officials estimate transportation makes up 35% of those emissions. The announcement comes as the electric vehicle manufacturing industry continues to grow in Arizona; the state has reached deals with car companies Lucid, Nikola, and ElectraMeccanica within several years.

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