[Updated at 9:41 a.m.] Government fire spokesman Eric Neitzel told CNN affiliate KPHO that overnight higher humidity and lower temperatures allowed firefighters to "make some good progress on the line" and protect structures.
KTVK's website www.azfamily.com says authorities shut down part of Highway 89 Sunday because of visibility issues caused by the fire, as the Schultz Fire was producing a huge plume of smoke that could be seen for miles. But by Monday morning, Neitzel told KPHO the cooperative overnight weather, including calmer winds, were making the smoke "[lay] down...so you don't see the big tower of smoke."
[Posted at 7:45 a.m.] A wildfire raging near Flagstaff, Arizona, has grown to more than 5,000 acres, shutting down part of U.S. Route 89, and it is wholly uncontained, according to the Coconino County website.
The Schultz Fire ignited late Sunday morning. It has caused the Coconino County Sheriff's office to evacuate at least 748 properties, including an animal shelter and the Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments. The Sheriff's office is recommending that nearby residents put together evacuation kits.
The blaze spread so quickly, it caught some locals off guard.
"It's something that unless you've lived through it, I don't think you can imagine," evacuee Patti Vorhees told CNN affiliate KTVK as she packed up her pets and left. "You literally take your prescriptions, your animals and the clothes on your back."
The Red Cross has set up a shelter at Mt. Elden Middle School in Flagstaff.
The Coconino County website says the U.S. Forest Service and several local fire departments are responding with about 300 firefighters, eight air tankers and five helicopters mustered to put out the blaze. A Type One Incident Management Team was slated to arrive Sunday night. The U.S. Fire Administration website says that's a self-contained team of 35-50 highly-trained personnel deployed to manage incidents of "national significant."
High winds in the area haven't helped. The winds have both stoked the flames and caused emergency crews to ground the air tankers for 5 1/2 hours Sunday afternoon. CNN meteorologist Sean Morris says gusty southwesterly winds, from 20-30 mph, will blow through the area through Tuesday, then calm by Wednesday morning. There's a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms in the area beginning on Thursday, says Morris.
KTVK's website http://www.azfamily.com says authorities shut down part of Highway 89 because of visibility issues caused by the fire, as the Schultz Fire is producing a huge plume of smoke that can be seen for miles.
The Schultz Fire is the second large wildfire to break out in the Flagstaff area this weekend. The Hardy Fire started early Saturday afternoon. But the Hardy Fire is much smaller, at 300 acres, and firefighters have been able to contain 30 percent of it. The Flagstaff Fire Department initially had ordered evacuations of two neighborhoods and the Cococino Humane Society because of the Hardy Fire, but those evacuation orders have been rescinded, said the Coconino County website.