A fast-spreading wildfire has swept across nearly 5,000 acres of land on the outskirts of Flagstaff, Ariz., threatening homes and prompting calls for hundreds of evacuations. Firefighters worked through the night against the blaze, which erupted yesterday morning and has been fueled by strong winds, while five helicopters and eight air tankers dropped fire suppression chemicals. There have been no reports of serious injuries or damage to buildings in this blaze and a smaller one sparked Saturday that also spurred evacuations across town.
Officials have closed US 89, a key route to Grand Canyon National Park about 75 miles to the north. Fire danger is considered high to extreme in Arizona, which has seen two wildfires burn more than 3,000 acres each in the last month. Relief isn't expected until next month, when summer monsoons generally start bringing rain to the region. A California man was arrested on suspicion of starting the smaller blaze, called the Hardy fire, by leaving behind hot coals at a campsite in a wooded area.