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Tunnel Fire nearing 100% containment as evacuations continue to lift, officials say

Coconino County officials announced Saturday evening that residents in communities along Highway 89 will be allowed back in Sunday morning.

COCONINO COUNTY, Ariz — Fire crews are fighting the Tunnel Fire, burning 14 miles north of Flagstaff since April 17.

We are continuing to track the efforts to contain the blaze and will update the public on any new information as soon as it becomes available. Please check back often for the latest information.

Head to 12news.com/wildfires to get the latest information on all the fires burning around Arizona. 

EN ESPAÑOL: El incendio Tunnel contenido en un 20% mientras que se levantan algunas restricciones de evacuación, informan autoridades

Here’s a breakdown of everything we know about the fire:

Latest fire updates

  • Evacuations for all neighborhoods associated with the Tunnel Fire have been changed to READY
  • The fire is 98% contained as of Tuesday, May 17
  • At least 100 structures have been destroyed, including 30 homes, authorities say
  • Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument was "burned in its entirety"

How many acres has it burned?

The Tunnel Fire has burned 19,088 acres and is 98% contained as of Tuesday, May 17

"Temperature, wind, and humidity levels are near local thresholds for significant fire growth and fire behavior." fire officials said. 

"Breezy, shifting winds can contribute to rapid rates of spread."

Are there any evacuations?

Coconino County Emergency Management has set up a call center for evacuees at 928-679-8525.

There are no communities under the "GO" order and have been asked to evacuate.

There are no communities under the "SET" order.

The following communities are under the "READY" order and have been asked to prepare for possible evacuation:

  • The communities along the Highway 89 corridor, north of Flagstaff, from Campbell Avenue to the north entrance of Forest Service Road 545 (Wupatki National Monument) 
  • The neighborhoods and communities included are: Timberline, Fernwood, Brandis Way, Girls Ranch Road, Pumpkin Patch, Lenox Park, Wupatki Estates and Antelope Hills. 

Go to the Arizona Emergency Information Network website to learn how the READY, SET, GO evacuation system works.

What roads or highways have been closed?

  • Forest Road 544
  • The public is being asked to avoid Highway 89 from Elden Springs Road to the Coconino National Forest boundary.

The Cinder Lake Landfill has reopened with regular operating hours:

  • 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday  
  • Closed on Sunday.

The Hazardous Products Center (HPC) has also resumed regular operating hours: 

  • 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday 
  • Closed on Sunday.

Are there any shelters available for residents who may be evacuated?

A Red Cross Shelter has opened for residents evacuated due to the Tunnel Fire at Sinagua Middle School, 3950 E Butler Ave.

The Flagstaff Family Food Center announced it will also be providing food and water to people affected by the fire on Thursday from 12:30 p.m. through 3 p.m. at 2187 North Vickey Street.

What other assistance is available?

NAU offering assistance:

Northern Arizona University (NAU) announced Friday it will be donating $25,000 to the United Way of Northern Arizona Crisis Fund and $25,000 to the Lumberjack Emergency Assistance Fund.

NAU President José Luis Cruz Rivera also told any university students in immediate need of housing, meals or emergency funds to email President@nau.edu3.

Animals:

Coconino County is advising people to not take their household pets to High County Humane, which is now in SET status.

Instead, residents can take their household pets to the Coconino Humane Association located at 3501 East Butler Ave.

Horses, goats, sheep, pigs, and chickens can be taken to the Fort Tuthill County Stables at the County Fairgrounds. The stables are self-service and owners are responsible for all services related to their animals, including feeding and watering. Bring cages for smaller livestock.

Arizona Wildfire Season

Get the latest information on how to stay safe and protect your home during wildfire season in Arizona on our 12 News YouTube playlist here.

Wildfire Go-Kit:

Residents in wildfire-prone areas are urged to have an emergency supplies kit to bring with them if they are evacuated from their homes, especially as Arizona residents are beginning to see early widespread fire activity throughout the state.

An emergency supply kit should be put together long before a wildfire or another disaster occurs. Make sure to keep it easily accessible so you can take it with you when you have to evacuate.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that residents near a disaster store emergency supplies in a plastic tub, small suitcase, trash can, backpack, or other containers.

Residents should make sure they have the necessities, such as three gallons of water per person and a three-day supply of ready-to-eat food, the NFPA said. A first-aid kit, prescription medications, contact lenses, and non-prescription drugs should also be taken into account.

Copies of any important family documents, including insurance policies, identification, bank account records, and emergency contact numbers should also be taken and put into a waterproof, portable container in your kit, the NFPA said.

The association lists other items that would help in a disaster, including:

  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio and an NOAA weather radio to receive up-to-date information
  • Dust mask or cotton T-shirt to filter the air
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Complete change of clothing including long pants, long sleeve shirts, and sturdy shoes stored in a waterproof container
  • Signal flare

The entire NFPA checklist of supplies can be found here.

   

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