CLINTS WELLS, Ariz.–The Tinder Fire continued to grow over night devouring nearly 4,000 acres in under 12 hours, which prompted Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to issue a state of emergency.
The fire burning in the Coconino County National Forest began last Friday and has since consumed 11,420 acres, forcing the evacuation of nearly 1,000 homes within several small communities near the wildfire. Fire officials reported Monday there were a structures lost in the fire, but the total number was unknown.
“I’m issuing today’s declaration to ensure that they have the necessary resources to protect the lives, pets and property of Arizonans,” Ducey said in a statement.
The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office ordered the evacuations Sunday for communities north, east and west of Highway 87. The evacuations will be in effect until further notice, said fire officials.
An evacuation site is set up at Twin Arrows Casino, 22181 Resort Boulevard in Flagstaff, after being moved from a junior high school because of smoke.
“Public safety is a top priority,” Ducey’s statement said.
There are 559 personnel, 15 hotshot crews, 6 helicopters, 40 engines, 3 dozers, 10 water tenders and overhead on scene. Local crews from Mohave Valley Fire Department, Pinion Pine Fire Department and Beaver Dam-Littlefield Fire Department are also fighting the blaze.
The Coconino National Forest said Tuesday winds were blowing “very hard east-southeast with gusts up to 30 miles per hour.” The fire was also causing major road closures, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. For road conditions and closures, call 511.
The cause of the wildfire is still under investigation, officials said, adding residents in Winslow and Holbrook will continue to be impacted by the smoke.