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Tunnel Fire morning update, Tuesday, April 26, 2022: crews gain 20% containment, damage assessment begins, wind returns

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.

The Tunnel Fire northeast of Flagstaff is now 20% contained after burning more than 19,000 acres and destroying at least 30 homes. Fire managers adjusted the acreage size after Tuesday morning's update.

Monday night’s Inciweb report says crews today will continue to hold and secure the fire perimeter on the western edge and begin mop-up along the line.

A crew assessing structures will continue to map out hot spots and hazards in and around the structures.

Others will prepare new containment lines and conduct “cold trail” operations along the perimeter using bucket work to support hand crews working the finger East of Strawberry Crater.

At a community meeting over the weekend, forest managers described a crew of Flagstaff Hotshots crawling through the forest checking every inch of the fire line with their hands to see if it is cold.

Near-critical weather conditions will return Tuesday, as high pressure moves to the east. Winds will shift to the southwest in the morning, increasing to 15 to 20 mph with some stronger gusts expected the afternoon.

Critical fire weather conditions are expected to continue through Thursday.

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:

Information regarding current firefighting efforts and the direction and activity of the fire is regularly updated on the Tunnel Fire Inciweb page at