Wildfires burning near Flagstaff more than triple in size overnight
PHOENIX — As high winds swept across northern Arizona, wildfires burning just north of Flagstaff more than tripled in size overnight, authorities said.
The Pipeline Fire, which began 6 miles north of the city, grew from 5,000 acres to an estimated 20,178 acres by Tuesday morning, the Coconino National Forest said in a press release.
Two other wildfires first detected on Monday, known as the Haywire Fire and Double Fire, merged and burned an estimated 4,052 acres combined.
The active fires are in the area where Tunnel Fire burned through just over 19,000 acres in the spring.
Current evacuation status map ⚠ as of Tuesday, 6/14/22 8:40 a.m.
There are currently five areas on SET status and four areas on GO status.
— City of Flagstaff (@CityofFlagstaff) June 14, 2022
Evacuation orders for Fernwood Estates, Swede Acres, Johnson Ranch and Hutchinson Acres were lifted Tuesday at about 11:45 a.m. and are now in “SET” position, according to CCSO.
Doney Park, Macann Estates and Silver Saddle Trailer Park were also in “SET” position, and all residents should be prepared to leave in the event of an emergency.
A “GO” order for evacuation remained in place for Timberline, Brandis Way, Buckboard Trail, the Moon Crater area and Alpine Ranchos.
More than 2,500 homes were told to evacuate since the fire ignited on Sunday afternoon, with one home and a secondary structured burned.
Authorities arrested Matthew Riser, 57, in connection to the Pipeline Fire. He allegedly told them he burned toilet paper around noon on Saturday and placed it under a rock several feet from a National Forest System Road, according to a complaint filed in federal court.
Approximately 600 personnel were battling the Pipeline Fire on Monday. The response included eight air tankers, five helicopters and 13 engines.
Forest officials and city representatives will host a community meeting for evacuees of the Pipeline and Haywire Fires at Sinagua Middle School at 6 p.m. to give an update regarding fire conditions and the status of evacuation orders.
The Arizona Department of Transportation closed parts of U.S. Route 89 and said there was no estimated time to reopen the road.
UPDATE: The northbound closure on US 89 has moved from milepost 425 to 423, north of Townsend/Winona Road. Southbound remains closed at milepost 445.#Aztraffic #PipelineFire pic.twitter.com/FR4dVicpJp
— Arizona DOT (@ArizonaDOT) June 14, 2022
Buffalo Park, the Schultz Creek Natural Area, the Observatory Mesa Natural Area and parts of the Flagstaff Urban Trail System entrances were closed with no estimated time for reopening, according to the city of Flagstaff.
Shelters have been set up at the Twin Arrows Casino Resort and at Sinagua Middle School.
Anybody seeking information about the fire situation can contact the Coconino County Fire Call Center at 928-679-8525.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.