Tunnel Fire update for Saturday, April 23, 2022: crews make progress, calmer winds could shift, evacuations remain in place
Forest managers on the Tunnel Fire burning near Flagstaff say winds are expected to shift Saturday and Sunday, coming from the north and northeast. Firefighters are positioned to respond, according to this morning’s update from the Coconino National Forest.
The nearly 22,000 acre fire is currently 3% contained.
The National Weather Service has lifted all wind warnings and advisories for Saturday, April 23, 2022, except for a small area near Lake Havasu City close to the Nevada-Arizona border where a Red Flag Warning is in effect.
Overnight, crews continued to build and reinforce fire lines, as well as work on the spot fire on 89 Mesa. Fire line construction with bulldozers and hand crews is ongoing around the edge of the fire between O’Leary Peak and Black Mountain, according to forest service officials.
Crews continue to patrol and mop up hot spots in the Timberline Estates and Wupatki Trails subdivisions, as well as along the southern flank of the fire along Forest Road 545. To contain the fire’s east edge, crews will also build fire lines in Strawberry Crater north from Forest Road 545.
Current evacuations remain in place as does a local State of Emergency.
An evacuee shelter is operating at Sinagua Middle School, 3850 E. Butler Ave. in Flagstaff.
Information about evacuations, structures that have been burned, and when people might be able to return is handled by Coconino County, which is posting updates online via their Coconino County Tunnel Fire page. The County has also established a Coconino County Tunnel Fire Call Center at 928-679-8525 for information and questions.
Tunnel Fire evacuees can take their pets to Coconino Humane Association: 3501 E Butler Ave, Flagstaff, AZ 86004, and large animals to the Fort Tuthill County Stables. Historic Hitchin' Post Stables, 4848 Lake Mary Rd, Flagstaff, and Beth's Burro Barn are also accepting equines and farm animals. http://BethsBurroBarn.com.
Highway 89 remains closed from milepost 425 to 435.
A Forest Closure Order remains in effect for the Tunnel Fire area, implemented by the Coconino National Forest.
An interactive map and other fire and evacuation information can be found at: www.coconino.az.gov/2894/Tunnel-Fire.
Information regarding current firefighting efforts and the direction and activity of the fire is regularly updated on the Tunnel Fire Inciweb page at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8068/.