Sunset Crater Volcano in northern Arizona burns in Tunnel Fire

Powerful videos and interviews with homeowners who've lost everything to the Tunnel Fire burning north of Flagstaff have been seen by many, and now, there's an update on a national monument that burned in the fire as well.

A hiker said the landscape may not actually be that different since it was mostly volcanic rocks at Sunset Crater, but the bigger concern wasn’t the scenery. It’s the infrastructure.

While dozens of homeowners arrived to the devastated remains from the Tunnel Fire a week after it began, the National Park Service (NPS) was able to return to the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument.

"Going through and determine what was damaged, the extent of that damage and essentially what our pathway is to restoring everything," Lucas Minton with NPS said, explaining what the next steps are.

When the fire spread rapidly by 70 mph gusts, Minton said they didn’t know what to expect.

"We didn’t know right away what the status was," he said. Ultimately, the visitor center survived, but he says roads, guardrails and signs are damaged.

"We’re always sad when we have another forest fire, especially at a national monument that’s so unique like this," said Wendy Rennert with the AZ Trailblazers, an avid hikers group.

She says Sunset Crater is unique for its volcanic rock and stunning views. It erupted a thousand years ago and formed an unexpected landscape.

"I find it a place you usually want to take family and friends out of town there because it’s so different than anything they’ve ever seen before," Rennert said.

Minton says they have no estimate on when the park will reopen.

"In a way, mother nature does what she does but on the other hand, a wildfire season scenario like this that threatens infrastructure … it’s never a good situation," Minton said.

Rennert said last summer when Picket Post Mountain burned in another wildfire, that these scenarios are becoming all too common.

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