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Crews try to protect more homes from raging Southwest fires

Western Wildfires
Posted at 11:46 AM, Apr 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-22 14:47:52-04

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Destructive Southwest fires have burned dozens of homes in northern Arizona and put small New Mexico villages in the path of flames.

Authorities say ferocious winds are expected to fuel the New Mexico fire Friday, with wide swaths of tinder-dry forest and grassland in the path of the flames.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham tweeted that people need to be prepared to evacuate at a moment's notice.

The state also now restricting campfires, open burning, and fireworks on state trust lands.

In Arizona, the Tunnel fire has burned more than 21,000 acres near Flagstaff.

The Coconino County Sheriff's Office says approximately 109 properties have been impacted by the fire, including 30 residences burned and 24 properties with outbuildings destroyed.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency due to the fire.

Wind gusts are forecasted to batter parts of Arizona and all of New Mexico through the weekend.

Firefighters are battling a half-dozen wildfires in the Southwest.