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Tunnel Fire afternoon update, Wednesday, April 20, 2022: fire chars 20k acres, community meeting set for 5:30 p.m.

Tunnel Fire 4-19-22
Isaac Neff
The smoke plume of the Tunnel Fire as seen from the Timberline community on Tue, April 19, 2022. Heavy winds rapidly spread the fire through neighborhoods northeast of Flagstaff.

Forest Service officials say the Tunnel Fire burning north of Flagstaff has scorched nearly 20,000 acres and remains 0% contained.

The Northern Arizona Type 3 Incident Team is currently managing firefighting operations.

Crews worked through windy conditions Tuesday night to build lines on the western side of the fire. They also worked to secure the fire’s edge for structure protection in the Timberline and Wupatki Trails neighborhoods.

On Wednesday, crews and bulldozers continued to work the western flank and in subdivisions, as well as trying to keep the Tunnel Fire from spreading up O’Leary Peak.

Nearly 300 fire personnel are on scene, including 24 engines, one air attack plane and one Type 3 helicopter. Air tankers were grounded yesterday because strong winds surpassed safety and effectiveness thresholds for dropping retardant.

A fire investigative team arrives today, and a Pacific Northwest Type 1 Incident Management Team is expected to arrive Thursday.

County officials have scheduled a public meeting this evening regarding the Tunnel Fire. It starts at 5:30 at Sinagua Middle School, 3950 E. Butler Ave, in Flagstaff.

The meeting will be live streamed online, with a link available on the Tunnel Fire Inciweb page.

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.

Many people fled the fire with no time to pack personal belongings.

Coconino’s Free store has gently used clothing for adults and children, shoes and more.

It’s located inside the high school at 2801 N. Izabel Street. For more information or questions, call 928-773-8200 ext. 6420.