Flagstaff Pipeline fire map, update as man arrested over Arizona wildfire, US
A huge wildfire is raging across an area north of Flagstaff, Arizona in the US, in an inferno that has seen residents evacuated and one person arrested in connection with the blaze. The fire, which has been burning since around 10h15am on Sunday, 12 June 2022, spread across some 4 500 acres of scrubland after winds fanned the flames for 15 miles across the dry grass and brush. Giant plumes of thick smoke were visible for miles as the land burned, with the incident dubbed the "Pipeline dire" because it engulfed the Pipeline Trail north of Buffalo Park, which follows a gas pipeline along the base of Mount Elden. A mapping flight at 21h38 MDT Monday night determined that the Pipeline Fire had grown to 20 178 acres and the Haywire Fire was 4 051 acres.
Both blazes are within the Coconino National Forest but at that time the Haywire Fire had reached the boundary and may spread outside the forest. The double fire appears to have merged with the Haywire Fire.
The fires are burning in timber and grass. Some of the areas near the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument have volcanic soils with little vegetation between patches of shrubs, grass, and trees. The elevation ranges from 6 000 to 10 000 feet, with the higher elevations on the west side of the Pipeline fire having a much greater density of timber as evidenced by the photo below and the extreme fire behaviour Monday when flames at least 400 feet high were seen in videos.
Some 270 fire personnel are battling the blaze, with resources including eight air tankers and five helicopters to tackle the wildfire. On the ground, 13 fire engines, nine fire crews, six prevention patrol units, three dozers and one water tender were deployed. More air tankers and helicopters are due to be sent out on Monday to fight the flames.
A 57-year-old man was arrested by US Forest Service law enforcement officers on Sunday in connection with the wildfire and charged with natural resource violations. He is being held at the Coconino County Sheriff's Detention Facility, according to Forest Service officials. Further details about what the suspect is accused of have not yet been revealed, with Law Enforcement Patrol Captain Andy Pederson saying: "The investigation into the cause of the Pipeline Fire is ongoing and, in order to protect the integrity of the investigation, we cannot discuss any details of the investigation." The suspect's name and photo have not been released but Coconino County Sheriff's Office said he was stopped from leaving the scene of the fire in a white pick-up truck and was subsequently arrested.
A map showing the outline of the fire is being regularly updated on the Inciweb website run by the Forest Service and is available to view here; click on the fire icon to see the dimensions and location of the blaze.
The size of the fire forced officials to issue an order for residents to evacuate and a map showing the evacuation area may be found on the Coconino County Emergency Management website.
The American Red Cross Arizona is opening a shelter at Sinagua Middle School at 3950 E Butler Ave in Flagstaff for evacuees and the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise and Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort is offering emergency lodging and shelter for affected families.
An incident report on the Forest Service's Inciweb website said, "The Pipeline Fire, located six miles north of Flagstaff, was reported at 1015am by a fire lookout and is currently several acres and active on all sides. Fire fighting resources are on scene and more ordered. Smoke will be visible from Flagstaff and the wind is sweeping the smoke through Schultz Pass toward Doney Park.... Critical fire, warm and windy conditions, which are pushing the wildfire toward the east and Schultz Pass....Exact size of wildfire is currently unknown since it is continually growing. Infrared flyovers help provide a more accurate estimation, which are usually conducted at night."
No homes or buildings have been reported destroyed and there have been no reports of injuries.
Sources: News Week, Wildfire Today