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Coconino and Kaibab national forests, City of Flagstaff announce fire restrictions

Tunnel Fire Home
Ryan Heinsius/KNAU
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The rock-made portion of a home northeast of Flagstaff is all that remains after it was burned in the Tunnel Fire.

U.S. Forest Service officials say they’ll implement stage 1 fire restrictions next week across the entire Coconino National Forest as well as the southern portion of the Kaibab National Forest near Williams and Tusayan.

It goes into effect Thu, May 5 at 8 a.m. and bans all campfires along with wood and charcoal stoves except in developed recreation sites, and also limits smoking to inside vehicles, buildings or developed sites.

"These restrictions are made based on science and data so we use carefully measured factors like current and predicted weather, fuel moisture, fire activity levels, the drought conditions and the available firefighting resources we that have on hand," says Coconino National Forest spokesperson Randi Shaffer.

The Coconino’s stage 1 restrictions went into effect last year in mid-May. The Prescott National Forest announced earlier this week it would put a fire ban in place Thursday. The City of Flagstaff will also be included in the restrictions.

It comes amid dry and windy spring conditions throughout northern Arizona. The 19,000-acre Tunnel Fire northeast of Flagstaff is almost 90% contained. Heavy gusts last week rapidly spread the fire, which eventually burned 30 homes. It originated on forest land near Schultz Pass Road where fires are permanently banned.

Meanwhile, the Crooks Fire continues to threaten several communities in the Bradshaw Mountains south of Prescott. It’s grown to more than 9,000 acres and is 27% contained. Several communities near the fire remain in Go and Set status.

This week, officials expanded the temporary closure area for the fire, which now extends from Prescott to Crown King.

More than a dozen large wildfires currently burning across the U.S. have scorched over 230,000 acres so far this year.