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 that are expected to chew away Friday at wide swaths of tinder dry forest and grassland with the help of ferocious winds.
Firefighters working to keep more homes from burning on the edge of a mountain town in northern Arizona were helped by scattered showers and cooler temperatures early Friday, but the favorable weather was not expected to last as more gusts were forecast to batter parts of Arizona and all of New Mexico through the weekend.
Flames stretching 100 feet had raced through rural Arizona neighborhoods near Flagstaff just days earlier. It wasn’t until Thursday that a break in the weather allowed helicopters to drop water on the blaze and authorities to enter the charred area to survey the damage. They found 30 homes and numerous other buildings had been destroyed, with sheriff’s deputies saying more than 100 properties were affected.