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Firefighters were able to stop the forward progress of a wildfire in the Clints Well area that was caused by dry lightning at 170 acres.

The Coconino County Sheriff's Office still had a pre-evacuation notice in place Thursday for homes within a 3-mile radius of Clints Well, including the private property off Lake Mary Road near Forest Road 680 and also Clear Creek Pines Units 1 & 2 in the Blue Ridge area. Homeowners in those areas are advised to prepare to evacuate and wait for further notice from officials. Drivers are urged to avoid the area of Lake Mary Road and State Route 87.

The dry lightning started an estimated seven fires total in the Clints Well area, according to Jean Gilbertson with the Coconino National Forest. The Tank Fire is the most active and is located one to two miles northeast of the junction of Lake Mary Road and Highway 87. 

About 100 people who were at a church camp in the area have self-evacuated and a pre-evacuation notice was to remain in effect through Wednesday night, said Todd Whitney, Coconino County's director of emergency management. Officials will reevaluate in the morning, Whitney said.

The Tank Fire was growing rapidly Wednesday through parts of the forest that haven't been thinned, but it is moving toward an area that has been treated. Fire managers expect to be able to control the fire when it moves into that treated area, said Laura Jo West, Coconino National Forest supervisor. 

There were three engines, and two crews on the scene of the Tank Fire fire on Wednesday and two helicopters and one large air tanker were on order. About 140 personnel in total are fighting the fire.

Among the other six known fires, one was reported as contained, with firefighters on their way to the other burns, according to Gilbertson.

The Coconino National Forest is evaluating a full forest closure and will make a final decision based on rain predicted for this weekend, West said. If the area receives little to no moisture, a full forest closure on the Coconino could be announced as early as next week, she said.

The reporter can be reached at sadams@azdailysun.com or (928)556-2253.

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Education/Business Reporter

Suzanne writes about education and business. She covers the local school district, charter schools and Northern Arizona University. She also writes the Sunday business features.

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