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Evacuations underway as wildfire burns near Flagstaff

Arizona Wildfire
Posted at 3:57 PM, Jun 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-13 18:57:11-04

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The Pipeline Fire and Haywire Fire have scorched thousands of acres near Flagstaff, forcing evacuations to several communities.

The Pipeline Fire was reported around 10 a.m. Sunday, June 12. According to fire officials, it has burned 4,500 acres as of Monday morning.

FAST FACTS:

  • Location: 6 miles north of Flagstaff
  • Size and containment: 4,500 acres, 0% containment
  • Cause: Believed to be human-caused, a man in custody
  • Evacuations:
    • GO: Areas of West Schultz Pass Road (FS420), FS 557, FS576, FS522, FS 556
    • GO: Arizona Snowbowl
    • GO: Crater Estates
    • GO: Timberline South of Brandis
    • GO: Neighborhood along Highway 89 North in the Sacred Mountain Trading Post area (both sides of the highway)
    • GO: All areas on Highway 89 north from Cullim Lane/Silver Saddle Road and east to Slayton Ranch Road
    • SET: Mt. Elden Lookout Road
    • SET: Mt. Elden Estates
    • SET: Doney Park
    • SET: Areas north of Sacred Mountain Trading Post to Antelope Hills and Sinagua Trading Post
  • Shelter information: Red Cross Shelter at Sinagua Middle School in Flagstaff, animal shelter set up at Fort Tuthill
  • Closures: Arizona Snowbowl, U.S. 89 is closed north of Flagstaff from milepost 425 to milepost 445

On Monday, strong winds in the area are causing trouble for emergency crews and are expected to impact the size of the fire.

According to information from the scene Monday, the fire is burning on both sides of Highway 89. Still, officials are treating the Haywire Fire as a separate incident until they can confirm if a spot fire started from the Pipeline Fire or something else.

The Pipeline Fire is believed to be a human-caused blaze, and a man has been taken into custody in connection to the fire.

The U.S. Forest Service announced the arrest of a 57-year-old man Sunday evening. Coconino County Sheriff's Office identified the person in custody as Matthew Riser.

Deputies responding to the fire were given the description of a white pickup truck quickly leaving the area where the fire started. Deputies eventually conducted a vehicle traffic stop and took Riser into custody.

Police documents say Riser admitted to burning toilet paper in the area and said he was not aware of fire restrictions.

He was booked into jail on multiple charges.

Officials say up to eight air tankers and five helicopters have aided in battling the fire. There is approximately 270 total personnel on the scene involved in suppression efforts.

Hikers and others in the area were told to leave, especially those in the Schultz area down to the Fort Valley Trailhead.

At this time, no structures or homes have been destroyed.

A Red Cross Shelter is set up at Sinagua Middle School in Flagstaff, and an animal shelter is set up at Fort Tuthill.

Additional Red Cross information can be received by calling 928-679-8525.

Escorts to and from properties within the evacuated areas will be available from the East Valley Baptist Church at 10655 N. U.S. 89 until 9:30 p.m. Sunday and will resume on Monday at 9 a.m.

U.S. 89 is closed north of Flagstaff from milepost 425 to milepost 445.

This story was first reported by staff at KNXV.