Twin Fire forces residents to evacuate

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

WILLIAMS - A prescribed burn in northern Arizona has turned into a full-fledged wildfire and it is inching its way closer to homes.

Kaibab National Forest officials started the burn on Thursday but winds ended up shifting turning it into a wildfire.

It has been named the Twin Fire and has burned 1,000 acres outside of the prescribed burn area.

Saturday evening it was about one mile southwest of Williams. Dozens of homes have been evacuated.

Winds are making it a bit more difficult for firefighters to battle the 1,000-acre blaze that is just one mile southwest from the City of Williams. Now the biggest concern is making sure it does not get any closer to town.

Williams resident Edith Pouquette says she is in awe of the smoke taking over her town. She says, "Look at that gee whiz! Yeah, it’s really bad. It’s a shock to all of us."

In the air and on the ground, fire crews are now using all methods at their disposal to contain what overnight became an 1,000-acre blaze just outside of Williams.

Already 64 homes along the southwest corner of the city have been evacuated.

Evacuees were directed to a shelter in town, while firefighters stayed back to keep an eye on the empty homes. Officials are hoping to minimize evacuations.

Punky Moore says, We're not seeing the intensive fire behavior from Friday, although it feels like the winds are starting to pick up."
It began on Thursday when prescribed fires, planned to protect Williams from wildfires were blown out of control by a shift in winds.

Now smoke hangs over the city and Interstate 40 and is threatening other neighboring subdivisions. So far no structures have burned.

Punky says, "The biggest concern is winds are a factor of course and it has been moving in a northeast direction towards Williams. We want to make sure it doesn't get into town."

The Red Cross shelter has been staged at the Williams Elementary Middle School at 601 n. 7th Street. For information call 928-635-5653 or 928-635-5635.