Arizona wildfire forces evacuation of local residents

19:00, June 21, 2010      

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An unconfirmed number of people were evacuated from their homes on Sunday as the second wildfire is to hit Flagstaff, Arizona in two days, authorities said.

The Schultz Fire, which began at about 11 a.m. on Sunday northeast of Flagstaff City, has burned more than 3,000 acres (1,215 hectares) of land, the Coconino County Sheriff's Office of Arizona said.

The fire prompted a search for some missing hikers just north of Flagstaff. Later Sunday, all the hikers were accounted for and making their way down the mountain on their own, said the office.

Four helicopters and more than 300 firefighters were trying to contain the fire. Eight air tankers were called in to assist but were grounded due to high winds.

Meanwhile, evacuation orders for the first fire in southeastern Flagstaff were lifted after fire officials reported that 30 percent of the blaze had been contained, reported the Arizona Republic newspaper.

Randall Wayne Nicholson, 54, of California, was arrested Sunday in connection with the second fire. Authorities accused him of leaving behind hot coals from a campfire.

Currently 16 wildfires were confirmed across Arizona, but with no injuries reported so far, said the U.S. Forest Service.

Source: Xinhua


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