Illegal campfire to blame for Tinder Fire

- Officials with the Coconino National Forest say Tuesday an illegal campfire is to blame for the start of the Tinder Fire.

Forest officials say the Tinder Fire, which was reported during the late morning hours of April 27, began near Forest Road 95. According to data from Inciweb, the fire has burned over 11,400 acres of land, as of Tuesday afternoon. The fire is 0 percent contained.

According to reports, nearly 700 firefighters are on scene, and 30 buildings have been destroyed so far. In addition, about 1,000 homes and other buildings are threatened.

Fire management team spokesman Brian Scott says cool temperatures and light rain has helped nearly 700 firefighters and other personnel virtually halt further spreading of the fire about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Flagstaff between early Tuesday and Wednesday.

Scott says firefighters are focused on protecting housing tracts on one side of the fire and securing a containment line on the opposite side to keep it out of a rugged canyon.

According to a statement, forest officials say the campfire took place while Stage I fire restrictions were in effect. In a statement released on April 23, Stage I restrictions began on April 27 at 8:00 a.m., which means fire, campfires, charcoal, coal, and wood stoves are prohibited, except in a list of developed recreation sites.

Officials said, in the statement released Tuesday, that finding the person responsible for the fire will be difficult, as witnesses in the forest are often nonexistent. An investigation, however, is ongoing.

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