Family’s home lost because of Tunnel Fire; Shifting winds keep crews busy Friday
FLAGSTAFF, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Windy weather is keeping fire crews especially busy in northern Arizona as the Tunnel Fire continues to rage through Coconino County.
As of Friday afternoon, more than 21,087 acres had burned, with the first signs of containment. Fire officials said the Tunnel Fire is about 3% contained. More than 370 fire crews are on scene, including a Pacific Northwest Type 1 management to help state and local officials manage firefighting efforts. Helicopters have also been deployed to help with fire suppression.
During the morning, firefighters battled flames drawing particularly close to the Timberline-Fernwood community, 11 miles northeast of Flagstaff. Our crews arrived to find emergency sirens blaring as authorities asked anyone who had not already left their homes to leave immediately.
Arizona’s Family Tess Rafols was told by volunteers that they were called to the area around 2 a.m. as the fire got closer to homes. Gila County Sheriff’s Office deputies are also on standby to help at a moment’s notice. Highway 89 north of Flagstaff remains closed and there are no signs of when it might reopen.
Northern Arizona University President Jose Luis Cruz Rivera sent a message to students on Friday morning via Twitter. Rivera said if any students are affected bty the fire and are in need of immediate assistance with housing, meals or emergency funds, email President@nau.edu.
Rafols spoke to one of the more than 30 families whose home was destroyed by the devastating wildfire. Jordan and Jolynn Isaac lost everything, They tried desperately to save the home that had been passed down from Jordan’s mother by hosing down the house, but within minutes flying embers starts fires around them. They got their kids, some pets and drove off as flames chased them. Sadly, their dog ran off and this morning they learned he had died in the fire. Click/tap here to donate to their GoFundMe.
Major progress is being made
The possibility of weather changes is prompting fire officials to stay cautiously optimistic as forecasters expect winds to shift into the weekend. It could make battling the blaze more difficult.
“There has been a lot of work, progress, and investment on line construction around many parts of the Tunnel Fire,” said Deputy Incident Commander Shelby Erickson Thursday evening. He says that crews will wait to ensure that the line holds because winds could push fire embers in another direction this weekend.
Hundreds still out of their homes
Evacuation Orders Last Updated: Thursday, April 21 at 8:30 p.m.
- Moon Crater
- Sunset Volcano National Monument
- Areas north of Campbell east and west of Highway 89
- East and west sides of Highway 89, from Campbell to Antelope Hills; Highway 89 is closed from Silversaddle Road to Antelope Hills
- All areas north of Lenox Road and south of Forest Service 545, including Wupatki Trails
Areas that are preparing to evacuate include:
- Areas south of Campbell Road to Elden Springs Road east and west of Highway 89
- Antelope Hills
- Areas north and east of Moon Crater to Navajo Nation
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