Communities in northeastern Arizona evacuated for 11,000-acre Tinder Fire

Posted: Updated:
Firefighters have said buildings have been lost to the flames. (Source: U.S. Forest Service) Firefighters have said buildings have been lost to the flames. (Source: U.S. Forest Service)
Hundreds of firefighters are on the scene battling the Tinder Fire. (Source: Arizona State Forestry) Hundreds of firefighters are on the scene battling the Tinder Fire. (Source: Arizona State Forestry)
The Tinder Fire, burning in northeastern Arizona, caused evacuations on Sunday. (Source: Arizona Department of Transportation) The Tinder Fire, burning in northeastern Arizona, caused evacuations on Sunday. (Source: Arizona Department of Transportation)
(Source: U.S. Forest Service) (Source: U.S. Forest Service)
Strong winds are fanning the flames of the Tinder Fire and those winds are expected to continue through Tuesday, firefighters said. (Source: Arizona State Forestry) Strong winds are fanning the flames of the Tinder Fire and those winds are expected to continue through Tuesday, firefighters said. (Source: Arizona State Forestry)
COCONINO COUNTY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The Coconino County Sheriff's Office has ordered the evacuations of some communities in northeastern Arizona due to the Tinder Fire, which has now burned over 11,000 acres. 

According to CCSO, evacuations have been ordered for all Moqui Ranchettes, Starlight Pines, Clear Creek (except 1 and 2), all of Tamerron, Ponderosa Pines, Timber Ranch, Blue Ridge Estates, Mongollon Ranches and Pine Canyon.

That equals about 600 people evacuated from about 1,000 homes in the area. About 20 people refused to evacuate from their homes.

State officials told the Federal Emergency Management Agency that at least 3,000 people are under mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders.

"All of a sudden, it was almost like an explosion and the black smoke was coming up," said Henry Spackman, who evacuated Clear Creek Unit 8. 

[READ MORE: 'Tinder Fire' burning northeast of Strawberry]

Gov. Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency in response to the fire on Monday. 

"Public safety is a top priority and we’re grateful for the first responders who continue to battle the Tinder Fire. I’m issuing today’s declaration to ensure that they have the necessary resources to protect the lives, pets and property of Arizonans impacted by this fire. We will continue to coordinate with state and local emergency response officials," Ducey said.

The emergency declared Monday in Coconino County frees up $200,000 in state funding.

The Coconino County Board of Supervisors also declared a state of emergency due to the fire being close to homes and buildings.

"I still have to remind myself that we’re just at the and of April, and that is certainly a concern of mine," said Incident Commander Bea Day at the community meeting in Winslow Monday night.

"We're worried about a lot more coming up this year," Spackman said.

A shelter has been set up at for people and smaller animals at Twin Arrows Casino and a large animal shelter has been opened at Holbrook Navajo County Fairgrounds. At least seven people have checked into the shelter at the casino.

The Tinder Fire was discovered Friday morning and is burning northeast of Strawberry, about nine miles east of Clint's Well.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Wildfires]

As of Tuesday morning, the Tinder Fire has burned about 11,000 acres and there is a zero percent containment. 

Firefighters said structures were lost but didn't have any other details. The Coconino County will assess damages and provide updates.

The Lyons Roofing Newschopper got a first look Tuesday morning at some of the homes destroyed by the wildfire

[VIDEO: Aerial view of homes destroyed by the Tinder Fire]

"They're saying this fire approaching here is about 4 blocks from us," said Joann Erwin, who evacuated from Clear Creek. 

According to Coconino County officials, the fire will continue to move to the northeast, moving rapidly through the Ponderosa Pine.

County officials say that once the fire reaches the Pinyon and Juniper area, they expect to see a reduction in fire behavior through less continuous fuels.

There are over 500 firefighters working this fire including seven hotshot crews. 

Residents in the area can sign up for Coconino County's Emergency Alerts for updates on the fire. 

[SLIDESHOW: Tinder Fire erupts in Coconino County]

State Route 87 is closed in both directions about 30 miles south of Winslow for a brush fire, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. There is no estimated time to reopen the highway near Clints Well between mileposts 290 to 312. 

Strong winds are fanning the flames of the Tinder Fire and those winds are expected to continue through Tuesday, firefighters said.

Smoke from the fire is also impacting nearby Winslow.

Fire officials say it is human-caused. Investigators are working to determine exactly what sparked it.

Since firefighters are battling the flames and trying to gain containment, there is a temporary flight restriction on drones in the area. Firefighters said somebody was operating a drone on Sunday morning, north of the fire. There was no serious impact on the firefighting efforts but crews want people to know that flying drones near wildfires is illegal.

Coconino County health officials are encouraging residents in the area to take precautions to protect themselves from the smoke.

County officials added that anyone with pre-existing conditions should avoid exposure to the smoke as much as possible and consult their physician if they have any issues.

Evacuees needing evacuation information can call the County Call Center at 928-213-2990.

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