Growing Arizona wildfire forces evacuations
Evacuations are in effect in parts of northern Arizona as a wildfire about six miles north of the city of Flagstaff grows, authorities said.
Coconino National Forest officials said the Pipeline Fire had burned approximately 4,000-5,000 acres by late Sunday, pushing about 15 miles.
In connection with the fire, the US Forest Service said it has arrested and charged a 57-year-old man with natural resource violations. The cause of the wildfire is not immediately known.
Coconino County Sheriff’s officials said the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort and people living in the area of the west Schultz Pass Road must evacuate.
People living in Doney Park and the area near Mount Elden have been told to prepare to leave.
Euelda King and her family evacuated their home for the second time this year because of wildfires. She had not yet settled back in from a springtime blaze before leaving again on Sunday, although this time she was able to grab photographs and clothing.
“Here we go again,” she said.
The family of 11 is planning to stay at the Navajo Nation casino, which is offering assistance to tribal members who evacuated.
The family was waiting in a car park ahead of road closure signs, watching smoke billow through the air and aircraft flying overhead.
“The winds are high, and I think they’re going to have a little bit of a battle with it,” Ms King said.
Wind gusts were sweeping the smoke through Schultz Pass toward Doney Park and authorities said recreationists are being told to leave immediately, especially those in the Schultz Pass area.
The American Red Cross Arizona has opened a shelter at Sinagua Middle School for residents who were evacuated.
Authorities said 13 engines, nine crews, six prevention patrol units, three bulldozers and one water tender were involved in the fighting the fire.
An Incident Management Team is scheduled to arrive on Monday.
The Arizona Department of Transportation has closed US Route 89. The department said in a Twitter post that there is no estimated time to reopen the road.
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