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Crews Brace for Strong Winds, Explosive Fire Growth in West

This Wednesday April 20, 2022, photo provided by Bill Wells shows his home on the outskirts of Flagstaff, Ariz., destroyed by a wildfire on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. The wind-whipped wildfire has forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes and animals. (Bill Wells via AP)
This Wednesday April 20, 2022, photo provided by Bill Wells shows his home on the outskirts of Flagstaff, Ariz., destroyed by a wildfire on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. The wind-whipped wildfire has forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes and animals. (Bill Wells via AP)
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Flagstaff, Ariz. (AP) -- Firefighters fanned out across blackened landscape in Arizona’s high country, digging into the ground to put out smoldering tree stumps and roots as helicopters buzzed overhead with buckets of water to drop on a massive blaze.

The work has been tedious and steady — all with the recognition that already strong winds will become stronger Friday and a shift over the weekend could turn the blaze up hillsides or toward homes on the outskirts of Flagstaff.