California, Arizona wildfires force evacuations

Fires in the US West are burning thousands of acres

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Wildfires are threatening communities in Arizona and California. 

Multiple fires spanning thousands of acres were burning in the Grand Canyon State, fueled by winds and high temperatures. 

Around 2,500 homes have been evacuated outside of Flagstaff, and Coconino County has declared an emergency.

Two additional fires were reported to the northeast of the estimated 5,000-acre Pipeline Fire, the exact size of which remains unknown. 

ARIZONA ‘PIPELINE FIRE’ FORCES EVACUATIONS, SUSPECT ARRESTED

"Strong winds coupled with warm weather have been the challenging factor for firefighters and air resources, as winds are predicted to be 40-50 mph today. The Coconino NF remains in Stage 2 fire and smoking restrictions," the U.S. Forest Service wrote on Facebook on Monday. 

The fire was 0% contained. 

Janetta Kathleen and her horse, Squish, watch as smoke rises above neighborhoods on the outskirts of Flagstaff, Ariz., Sunday, June 12, casts a glow above neighborhoods. Evacuations have been ordered for homes in the area. Authorities say firefighters are responding to the wildfire about six miles north of Flagstaff that has forced evacuations. 

Janetta Kathleen and her horse, Squish, watch as smoke rises above neighborhoods on the outskirts of Flagstaff, Ariz., Sunday, June 12, casts a glow above neighborhoods. Evacuations have been ordered for homes in the area. Authorities say firefighters are responding to the wildfire about six miles north of Flagstaff that has forced evacuations.  (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)

In California, evacuation orders remained in place on Monday, according to San Bernardino County authorities. 

The Sheep Fire was nearly 1,000 acres on Sunday night and 27% contained, according to InciWeb. 

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Hundreds in California and New Mexico have been forced to flee their communities due to massive fires. 

In 2022, nearly 30,000 wildfires have burned nearly 2.7 million acres nationwide, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Residents walk by as smoke rises from the Sheep Fire burning in Wrightwood, Calif., Sunday, June 12, 2022. 

Residents walk by as smoke rises from the Sheep Fire burning in Wrightwood, Calif., Sunday, June 12, 2022.  (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

More than 6,200 wildland firefighters and support personnel are assigned to incidents. 

The number of square miles burned so far this year is more than double the 10-year national average, with New Mexico seeing its largest fire in state history. 

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Western wildfires have become a year-round threat and scientists and fire experts say they are moving faster and burning hotter than ever due to climate change.