Several Homes Evacuated As Wildfire Blazes in Arizona
With the heat of summer comes wildfire season — and already, a fire in Arizona has led to the evacuation of around two dozen homes. Residents of Flagstaff, Arizona packed up their prized possessions and left their homes on Tuesday, as hundreds of firefighters worked to contain the fire. The fire is blazing in Coconino National Forest, the largest Ponderosa pine forest in the U.S.
After officially evacuating two dozen homes, residents of 5,000 more homes were told they might have to leave although no updated evacuations were ordered. According to reporting by The Associated Press, Arizona’s cooler weather, rain, and increased humidity have helped fire crews battle the fire, but officials are worried that wind could shift the direction of the fire.
“If those winds kick up, that can cause real challenges for the firefighters,” said fire information officer Steve Kliest to The Associated Press.
Currently, officials estimate that 2 square miles of the forest — a prime spot for recreation that’s close to downtown Flagstaff — has been charred. Incident Commander Rich Nieto said that the fire is about 10 percent contained.
The fire has led Gov. Doug Ducey to declare a state of emergency and offer up $200,000 in state funding to help battle the fire, which has already cost $2.1 million according to Nieto. Aaron Green of the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency plans to reimburse the state up to 75 percent of the money they spend on the fire, which is estimated to cost $10 million in total and will not all be paid in entirety by the state.
Officials believe that the fire was started by humans, but have yet to determine what exactly started the blaze. No building damage or injuries have been reported.