‘Wall of fire’ sends residents of more than 700 homes fleeing in Arizona

Heavy winds kicked up a towering wall of flames outside a northern Arizona tourist town late on Tuesday, ripping through two dozen structures and sending residents of more than 700 homes scrambling to flee.

Flames as high as 100ft raced through an area of scattered homes, dry grass and Ponderosa pine trees on the outskirts of Flagstaff as wind gusts of up to 50mph pushed the blaze over a major highway.

Coconino county officials said during an evening news conference that 766 homes and 1,000 animals had been evacuated. Acerca de 250 structures remained threatened in the area popular with hikers and off-road vehicle users and where astronauts have trained amid volcanic cinder pits.

The county declared an emergency after the wildfire ripped in scale from 100 acres on Tuesday morning to over nine square miles by evening, and ash rained from the sky.

The fire was moving north-east away from the more heavily populated areas of Flagstaff, home to Northern Arizona University, and toward Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, said the Coconino national forest spokesman, Brady Smith.

“It’s good in that it’s not headed toward a very populated area, and it’s headed toward less fuel,"Smith dijo. “But depending on the intensity of the fire, fire can still move across cinders.”

Authorities will not be able to determine whether anyone was injured in the wildfire until the flames subside.

Firefighters and law enforcement officers went door to door telling people to evacuate but had to pull out to avoid getting boxed in, said the Coconino county sheriff, Jim Driscoll.

He said his office got a call about a man who was trapped inside his house, but firefighters couldn’t get to him. “We don’t know if he made it out or not,” Driscoll said.

Various organizations worked to set up shelters for evacuees and animals, including goats and horses.

The scene was all too familiar for residents who recalled rushing to pack their bags and flee a dozen years ago when a much larger wildfire burned in the same area.

“This time was different, right there in your backyard,” said Kathy Vollmer, a resident.
She said she and her husband grabbed their three dogs but left a couple of cats behind as they faced what she described as a “wall of fire”.

“We just hope they are going to be OK," ella dijo.

y se creía que estaban a unos 150 km al este de Kiev el sábado por la noche y es probable que avancen más el domingo, the wildfire shut down US 89, the main route between Flagstaff and far northern Arizona, and communities on the Navajo Nation. The high winds grounded aircraft that could drop water and fire retardant on the blaze.

The fire started on Sunday afternoon 14 miles north-east of Flagstaff, an area hard hit by recent wildfire seasons. Investigators do not know yet what caused it and have yet to corral any part of the blaze.

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