Crews continue to focus on key areas to protect structures, keep the fire from moving up steep slopes
Release Date: Apr 21, 2022
Contact(s): Media Contact: 928-224-8306, Evacuee Call Center: 928-679-8525
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., April 21, 2022 — Residences, buildings, and watersheds that drain near them are currently the main emphasis for firefighters battling the now 20,511 acre Tunnel Fire 14 miles northeast of Flagstaff.
Overnight crews continued cooling hotspots in the Timberline Estates and Wupatki Trail subdivisions, as well as worked to contain multiple spot fires on the fire’s western flank near Forest Road 420 (Schultz Pass Road). These efforts were instrumental in keeping the fire from burning up steep slopes toward Schultz Peak and may help to minimize post-fire flood impacts.
Crews will continue to work the western flank today as well as areas in and around the subdivisions in anticipation of a Red Flag wind event that is forecast to start at 11 a.m. Windy conditions are expected to continue into Friday, with a slight chance of moisture and higher humidity to accompany Friday’s winds.
In addition, hand crews have completed handline on the southern edge of the fire nearly to the Pinnacle Peak 345KV powerline and on the north edge of the fire below O’Leary Peak. They will continue looking at opportunities to extend these fire lines to the east throughout the day.
Current firefighting resources on scene include 179 firefighters, four 20-person hand crews, four dozers, 21 engines, one air attack plane, one Type 3 helicopter, two Type 1 helicopters and additional air assets on order. A Pacific Northwest Type 1 Incident Management Team has been ordered and will begin arriving, with plans to fully transition operations Friday morning.
U.S. Highway 89 is still closed from near milepost 425 (Campbell Road intersection) to 445, but officials are assessing conditions daily and may reopen it before the weekend. These decisions will be based on weather conditions that drive fire activity and whether or not it is safe for motorists to travel this stretch of highway.
Information about evacuations, structures that have been burned, and when people might be able to return is handled by Coconino County, which is posting updates online via their Coconino County Tunnel Fire page. The County has also established a Coconino County Tunnel Fire Call Center at 928-679-8525 that the public can call with questions.
All information regarding current firefighting efforts and the direction and activity of the fire is regularly updated on the Tunnel Fire Inciweb page at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8068/
TUNNEL FIRE AT A GLANCE
Date reported: April 17, 2022
Cause: Under investigation.
Origin: 14 miles northeast of Flagstaff, Doney Park. (GPS: 35.304167, -111.588611)
Current size: 20,511 acres
Percent contained: 0%
Current resources: Approximately 179 firefighters, four twenty person hand crews, four dozers, 21 engines, one air attack plane, two Type 1 helicopters, and one Type 3 helicopter. A Type 1 Team has been ordered, as well as additional air assets, which will begin arriving throughout today and tomorrow.
Predicted smoke impacts: Smoke will impact the Doney Park area in the evening as temperatures drop and smoke drains. During afternoon hours, smoke will move toward the northeast.
Current closures: U.S. Highway 89 is closed from milepost 425 to 445. The closure is being assessed daily to see when the road can be safely opened.
Evacuation & information: Please visit the Coconino County Emergency Management page for the Tunnel Fire at https://www.coconino.az.gov/2894/Tunnel-Fire . The Coconino County Tunnel Fire Call Center can be reached at 928-679-8525.