Hot, dry and windy weather to challenge fire crews in Arizona

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Fire crews battling two wildfires in northern Arizona expected some growth on Thursday due to hot, dry and windy conditions, officials said.

Both fires were moving through grass, brush and pine trees on the northern outskirts of Flagstaff, a mountain town that is home to Northern Arizona University and the observatory where Pluto was discovered. It is also a popular respite from the sweltering desert heat.

The largest blaze burned more than 38 square miles (100 square kilometers) and was 27% contained on Thursday, down slightly from the previous day due to burnout operations, the fire information office said. Mike Reichling.

The smaller fire burned over 8 square miles (21 square kilometers) and was 11% contained.

Forecasts call for a chance of showers and thunderstorms, which could help suppress wildfires, starting Friday and continuing through the weekend. Flooding and dry lightning are also of concern.

Some evacuation orders were still in place due to wildfires, including for the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort.

Authorities have reopened a lane of U.S. Route 89, the main route between northern Arizona and the Navajo Nation to Utah. Drivers also use it to get to the eastern rim of the Grand Canyon.

The largest wildfire in the United States is burning in northern New Mexico.

About Jefferey G. Cannon

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