Tinder Fire latest: Firefighters gain ground, 12% contained, 12,200+ acres burned

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The church is still standing. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The church is still standing. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The Tinder Fire was supposed to be called something else. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Tinder Fire was supposed to be called something else. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Cool and wet weather conditions Wednesday helped firefighters battling the Tinder Fire.

The wildfire has burned 12,286 acres of north-central Arizona forest while destroying 30 buildings and closing a state highway.

On Wednesday night, firefighters said there was 12 percent containment thanks to the rain and snow in the area.

[SLIDESHOW: Tinder Fire erupts in Coconino County]

Fire crews were able to strengthen the fire lines but expect warm weather to return in the coming days.

Even with the progress, all the evacuation notices remain in effect.

Fire management team spokesman Brian Scott says cool temperatures and light rain has helped nearly 650 firefighters and other personnel virtually halt further spreading of the fire about 50 miles south of Flagstaff.

Scott says firefighters are focused on protecting housing tracts on one side of the fire and securing a containment line on the opposite side to keep it out of a rugged canyon.

Authorities announced Tuesday that an illegal campfire that was abandoned started the fire last Friday. Officials say the fire originated in the East Clear Creek drainage approximately 1 mile downstream from Forest Road 95.  

The campfire was abandoned but shouldn't have been started due to Stage I fire restrictions, according to officials with the Coconino National Forest.

[RELATED: Illegal campfire to blame for starting Tinder Fire, investigators say]

Firefighters continue efforts to fully suppress the fire where they can do so safely and effectively.

Objectives include ensuring emergency responder and public safety, protecting structures, facilities and infrastructure in local communities.

About 600 people are still evacuated.

[READ MORE: Communities in northeastern Arizona evacuated for 11,000-acre Tinder Fire]

The Coconino County Sheriff's Office evacuation for all Blue Ridge Tinder Fire affected communities north, east and west of Hwy 87 remains in effect. The evacuation will remain in effect until firefighters are able to contain the west and north flanks of the fire and are confident there is no longer a threat to communities. 

The Coconino County Call Center has added an additional number for Blue Ridge evacuated residents:

Contact 928-213-2990 or 928-679-8393.

Evacuated residents are encouraged to call and provide the County with your contact info. This is the best way for them to directly communicate with evacuated residents on any assessment or reentry information when the time comes.

You can also visit https://www.facebook.com/CoconinoCounty for details.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Wildfires]

Highway 87 closures are in effect in the fire area.

Visit https://twitter.com/ArizonaDOT or call 511 for current status.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

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