State of emergency declared as wildfires in Arizona continue to grow

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Arizona Governor Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency Thursday due to the massive wind-fed wildfire burning in Coconino County.

The Tunnel Fire, burning about 14 miles north of Flagstaff, has grown to more than 20,000 acres as firefighters prepare for increasingly windy conditions expected on Friday.

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The Arizona Tunnel Fire has now spread to more than 20,000 acres.
(Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management)

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The emergency declaration will help officials provide resources to people and communities affected by the fire, Ducey said in a statement.

Nearly 800 area households have been evacuated and the fire remains 0% contained, according to Coconino County officials.

Grass and burnt trees dot the landscape on Thursday, April 21, 2022, after a wildfire swept through the outskirts of Flagstaff, Ariz. (Rachel Gibbons/Arizona Daily Sun via AP)

Grass and burnt trees dot the landscape on Thursday, April 21, 2022, after a wildfire swept through the outskirts of Flagstaff, Ariz. (Rachel Gibbons/Arizona Daily Sun via AP)
(Rachel Gibbons/Arizona Daily Sun via AP)

“Although we have not yet declared a percentage of containment of this fire, there has been a lot of work, progress and investment in the construction of lines around many parts of the tunnel fire,” said said Deputy Incident Commander Shelby Erickson.

Two firefighters monitor hot spots of a wildfire burning on the outskirts of Flagstaff, Ariz., Thursday, April 21, 2022. (Rachel Gibbons/Arizona Daily Sun via AP)

Two firefighters monitor hot spots of a wildfire burning on the outskirts of Flagstaff, Ariz., Thursday, April 21, 2022. (Rachel Gibbons/Arizona Daily Sun via AP)
(Rachel Gibbons/Arizona Daily Sun via AP)

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More than 370 firefighters were called to battle the blaze. Other on-site firefighting assets include five bulldozers, 30 fire trucks, one air attack aircraft and three helicopters.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Smoke from a wind-blown wildfire rises above neighborhoods on the outskirts of Flagstaff, Ariz., Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Homes on the outskirts of Flagstaff were evacuated Tuesday as winds violent whipped a wildfire, shut down a major highway and firefighting aircraft on the ground.  (Sean Golightly/Arizona Daily Sun via AP)

Smoke from a wind-blown wildfire rises above neighborhoods on the outskirts of Flagstaff, Ariz., Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Homes on the outskirts of Flagstaff were evacuated Tuesday as winds violent whipped a wildfire, shut down a major highway and firefighting aircraft on the ground. (Sean Golightly/Arizona Daily Sun via AP)
(Sean Golightly/Arizona Daily Sun via AP)

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