FLAGSTAFF, Arizona (AP) – Firefighters who have been battling a number of wildfires in northern Arizona on Thursday expected some growth due to hot, dry and windy conditions, officials said.
Both flames moved through grass, brush and pine trees on the northern outskirts of Flagstaff, a mountainous city home to Northern Arizona University and the observatory where Pluto was discovered. It is also a popular respite from the sweltering desert heat.
The larger fire burned more than 38 square miles (100 square kilometers) and was 27% contained on Thursday, slightly less than a day earlier due to burnout operations, fire information office Mike Reichling said.
The smaller fire burned more than 8 square miles (21 square kilometers) and was 11% contained.
The forecast provides for chances of showers and thunderstorms, which could help suppress the veld fires, from Friday and all weekend. Floods and dry lightning are also a concern.
Some evacuation orders were still in place due to the wildfires, including for the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort.
Authorities have reopened one lane of U.S. Route 89, the primary route between northern Arizona and the Navajo Nation into Utah. Drivers also use it to get to the eastern edge of the Grand Canyon.
The largest wildfire in the US is burning in northern New Mexico.