Fires are intensifying in the southwest as Arizona firefighters prepare for strong winds that further expand 32 square miles of hell.

Flagstaff, Arizona-Firefighters fan out across the dark landscape of the highlands of Arizona, where helicopters roar overhead with buckets of water and fall into massive flames, smoldering tree stumps and roots. I dug up.

The work was boring and steady. There is already a strong wind on Friday, and there is a perception that shifting to the weekend could lead to flames heading to houses on the hillside or in the suburbs of Flagstaff.

The 32 square mile (83 square kilometers) flame is one of the six major wildfires in Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado over the past week. Forecasters warn that warm climates, little or no rainfall, and spring winds create dangerous recipes for wildfires.

Scott Overpeck of the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, New Mexico, said these elements were “significantly contained in atmospheric steroids for tomorrow.” “And that means they’re really cranking up. Everything overlaps at the same time.”

The fire in the Flagstaff area was expected to continue to spread on Friday, fueled by the wind, said Jerorin Burn, a spokeswoman for the burning team.

Neither officials nor residents were able to fully investigate the damage, as the crew on Thursday was busy working on a spot fire to prevent the flames from rising on the hillside. If that happens, it would mean a much larger fire with long-term consequences such as erosion and flooding.

Still, the spirit was lifted Thursday as the helicopter was able to begin dropping water into the flames for the first time.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency in Flagstaff’s Coconino County on Thursday. This declaration clarifies the state’s funding path for evacuation, shelter, repairs and other costs. However, the money cannot be used to repay the loss to the home or business owner.

About 30 buildings were destroyed, but it is still unknown how many homes there were, the county sheriff’s office said Thursday.

Hundreds of people have been evacuated due to a wildfire in the southwest. Popular lakes and national monuments have been closed in Arizona. Includes Sunset Crater Volcanoes National Monument outside Flagstaff as wildfires moved directly above it, blackened trees, and burned tools and vehicles in the maintenance yard.

The Coconino National Forest was closed where wildfires were burning, but no broader fire restrictions or closures were in place. Gate signs warn of potential debris, fallen trees and branches, and flash floods.

Fire restrictions will take effect on Friday at the site of the National Park Service of New Mexico, including the Valles Caldera National Monument and Bandelier National Monument.

Wildfires pose a year-round threat to the west, according to scientists, given changes in conditions such as early snowmelt and late autumn rains. The problem is exacerbated by decades of fire extinguishing and inadequate forest management, and more than 20 years of drought associated with anthropogenic climate change.

Residents around Flagstaff (recreation all year round, rest from the heat of the desert, Northern Arizona University) question how a small flame swelled in the northeast of the university town on Sunday afternoon. I saw it. Matt McGrath, a district ranger in the Coconino National Forest, said firefighters surrounded the wildfire on Sunday and did not see smoke or lively flames when checked again on Monday.

By Tuesday, the wind was well controlled. A flame appeared and jumped over the containment line. Residents of about 765 homes evacuated with 1,000 animals from rural areas.

The cause of the fire has not been identified. Investigators were away from bumpy gravel and dirt US Forestry Roads on Thursday. In the distance, a large grayish smoke rose on the surrounding hills. The snow was still sitting on top of another mountain.

Near the place where the wildfire started, there were smoldering stumps, burnt grass, and burnt trees.

Preston Mercer, a fire management specialist in the Coconino National Forest, remembers standing in the same place in 2010 and fighting another big flame. As such, this fire has taken advantage of dry vegetation and strong winds.

“The environment is not very friendly. It was blowing at 70 mph. The rock hit everyone on the face. It was very smokey and we worked directly in the heat.” He said Thursday from the line of fire. “These people are working incredibly hard. They know the values ​​at risk. This is their community.”

The nearby crew focused on a 100-acre (40-hectare) spot fire away from the main flames towards a hill overlooking a nearby house. One firefighter repeatedly shook the rubbing tool as the wind barked and the smoke swirled in the air, revealing the roots of a smoldering tree. He took off his gloves, put his hand on the ground, made sure it was cold, and then proceeded to repeat the process.

In neighboring New Mexico, the crew was fighting several fires, including two that were forced to evacuate a few and one that threatened natural gas and telecommunications lines.

In Colorado, two small wildfires were dealt with in the southern and northern parts of the state while firefighters were fighting strong winds.

According to the sheriff’s office, the flames in Boulder County were caused by the battery of a crashed drone that researchers were using to study stormy weather. Researchers used a fire extinguisher, but the fire spread quickly with strong winds, officials said. According to police, other fires damaged or destroyed an estimated 15 structures, including the homes of Monte Vista, a community of about 4,150 people surrounded by farmland.

Wildfire commander Rocky Opriger, who was forced to evacuate south of Prescott, Arizona, said it was some of the worst situations he had seen in nearly 50 years of fighting wildfires. Stated.

“It’s very early to start this kind of fire action,” he said. “Now we are on the whim of the weather.”


Associated Press writer Paul Davenport of Phoenix, Susan Montoya Bryan of Albuquerque, Nevada, Scott Sonner of Reno, Nevada, and Colleen Slevin of Denver contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 By AP communication. all rights reserved.

Fires are intensifying in the southwest as Arizona firefighters prepare for strong winds that further expand 32 square miles of hell.

Source link Fires are intensifying in the southwest as Arizona firefighters prepare for strong winds that further expand 32 square miles of hell.

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