Officials expect increased activity at Pipeline, Haywire fires near Flagstaff

Jun 16, 2022, 10:42 AM | Updated: 12:59 pm

PHOENIX – Officials were expecting increased activity Thursday for two northern Arizona wildfires that calmed down in recent days after spreading rapidly earlier in the week.

The Pipeline Fire, about 6 miles north of Flagstaff, was measured at 24,815 acres with 27% containment as of Thursday morning. It was at 22,888 acres with 31% containment the previous morning.

The Haywire Fire, which is several miles the east of the Pipeline Fire in Coconino National Forest, had consumed 5,372 acres and was 11% contained as of Thursday morning. It was measured at 5,065 acres with no containment the previous morning.

“Fire activity is expected to increase today with forecasted warm, dry and breezy conditions. … Hot, dry weather continues to contribute to the critically dry fuels,” the incident management team said in its Thursday morning report.

“Winds will carry smoke to the northwest during the morning, shifting to the northeast impacting homesteads north and east of Flagstaff, including the Navajo Nation.”

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued a declaration of emergency for the Pipeline Fire on Thursday, providing additional resources for response and recovery efforts.

Most of the evacuations related to the two fires have been lifted, and U.S. Highway 89 in the area was reopened to traffic on Wednesday.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office evacuation order for the eastern portion of Alpine Ranchos was lifted Thursday afternoon.

The western portion of Alpine Ranchos/Crater Estates, including the Moon Crater area, are still in the “GO” status of the emergency response system.

The area north of Wupatki Trails along Highway 89 north to Sacred Mountain Trading Post also remains evacuated because the Pipeline Fire is active there.

Most of the Coconino National Forest north of Interstate 40 remains off-limits.

More than 2,500 homes had been evacuated at some point since the Pipeline Fire ignited on Sunday, with one home and a secondary structured burned.

Shelters were opened at the Twin Arrows Casino Resort and Sinagua Middle School. Anybody seeking information about the fire situation can contact the Coconino County Fire Call Center at 928-679-8525.

As of Thursday morning, a combined 740 personnel were working on the Pipeline and Haywire fires, with 14 Hotshot crews, nine hand crews, 57 engines, nine water tenders, four dozers and nine helicopters, officials said.

The two fires have been burning through grass, brush and pine trees near where the Tunnel Fire consumed just over 19,000 acres in the spring.

Authorities arrested Matthew Riser, 57, in connection to the Pipeline Fire. He is accused of starting the blaze by burning toilet paper and putting it under a rock.

Officials believe a lightning strike sparked the Haywire Fire, which was first reported Monday and now includes two merged incidents, along with the Double Fire.

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Officials expect increased activity at Pipeline, Haywire fires near Flagstaff