Wildfires burning throughout the American West are forcing evacuations as crews deal with more hot, windy and dry conditions
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The Western U.S. on Monday marked another day of hot, dry and windy weather as crews from California to New Mexico battled wildfires that had forced hundreds of people to leave their homes.
Roughly 2,500 homes have been evacuated because of two wildfires burning on the outskirts of Flagstaff in northern Arizona, officials said at an afternoon briefing.
“We all have felt the pain of watching our beautiful mountain burn. We acknowledged what an incredibly difficult time this is for those who have been evacuated and for those whose homes have been threatened,” Coconino County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Patrice Horstman said.
The wildfire prompted the county to declare an emergency. It’s been fueled by high winds that have grounded aircraft as an option for firefighting. Crews are planning on being able to use aircraft Tuesday as winds moderate, authorities said.
Incident Cmdr. Aaron Graeser said the Flagstaff-area fire is one of the country’s top priorities for firefighting resources.
“Every potential fire source was a problem today, and every potential unburned area was receptive to fire today,” Graeser said. “That puts us in an interesting situation of trying to, again, assign resources the best we can based on that.”
Current conditions have also kept fire managers from being able to better map it by air but the fire is estimated to be 8 square miles (20 square kilometers).
Crews were expecting wind gusts up to 50 mph (80 kph) as they battled the blaze that has burned through parts of the footprint left by another springtime fire that destroyed over two dozen homes as well as parts of other fire scars.
Content retrieved from: https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/western-wildfires-force-evacuations-arizona-california-85360686.