The Pipeline Fire, which began Sunday morning just north of Flagstaff, continued to grow and prompted additional evacuations as of Monday.
Fire officials estimated the fire was about 5,000 acres in size, although said the exact size is unknown.
Smoke was visible from Flagstaff and the fire was moving due to windy conditions. Wind swept smoke through Schultz Pass toward Doney Park. Strong winds continued to move the fire northeast on Monday.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will assist the state through federal funds, the federal agency announced Monday morning. A fire management assistance grant will fund up to 75% of firefighting costs using federal dollars.
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Arizona submitted a request for the federal grant on Sunday, as the fire had the potential of impacting 2,100 homes in the areas of Doney Park, Timberline and Black Bill Park. Schools, cultural sites and other infrastructure could be impacted as well, according to FEMA.
As of Monday morning, 344 fire personnel were working on the fire, according Coconino County Emergency Management. The fire was 1% contained. Numerous neighborhoods had been ordered to evacuate.
Two other fires were burning nearby to the northeast — the Haywire Fire and the Double Fire, which are expected to merge.
The fire was burning six miles north of Flagstaff and just west of Schultz Pass.
A fire lookout first reported the wildfire at 10:15 a.m. on Sunday. The fire involves pine, grass and brush.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation. The U.S. Forest Service arrested a man in connection with the fire and charged him with federal natural resource violations.
Firefighters on Monday were working to put out the fire and prevent it from going near communities, per Forest Service officials. Strong winds and warm weather were posing challenges.
Three hotshot crews plus other firefighters, 11 engines, three water tenders, four dozers, air resources and others were battling the fire on Monday, according to the Forest Service. No injuries had been reported as of mid-day Monday.
A Type 2 Incident management team from California was expected to arrive Monday to take over management of the fire.
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To the northeast of the Pipeline Fire, and east of Sunset Crater, is another wildfire, which was reported early Monday morning. It was over 2,400 acres as of Monday morning, per county fire officials. Crater Estates was in “Go” evacuation status.
Haywire’s cause was undetermined, but suspected to be from lightning days earlier. It started 7.5 miles northeast of Doney Park. Ten engines were at the fire on Monday and dozers had been ordered.
A third fire — Double Fire — was also burning two miles south/southwest of where the Haywire Fire started. It was about 500 acres in size as of midday Monday, and potentially also caused by lightning.
Haywire Fire will likely combine with Double Fire, according to fire officials. Both were 0% contained.
The three fires are near the Tunnel Fire burn scar. That fire burned nearly 20,000 acres in April.
Multiple areas north and northeast of Flagstaff were in “Go” status as of Monday morning, meaning residents should evacuate right away.
Areas in “Go” status included:
Evacuations are managed by the Coconino County Sherriff’s Office and Emergency Management.
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Areas in “Set” status as of Monday morning included:
All other areas nearby are in “Ready” status, according to Coconino County Emergency Management.
“Ready” means residents should prepare to evacuate, watch the situation and pack important items. “Set” means people should prepare to evacuate when given notice. “Go” means leave immediately.
U.S. 89 was closed in both directions north of Flagstaff. The southbound side was closed at milepost 445 and the northbound side was closed at milepost 425. There is no estimated time for the road to reopen.
Nearly the entire northern part of the Coconino National Forest was closed from Interstate 40 to the north.
Critical fire conditions, including warm and windy weather, are exacerbating the fire. The wildfire was being pushed toward the east and Schultz Pass.
Smoke on Monday morning was moving to the northeast and onto the Navajo and Hopi reservations, according to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Strong winds were expected to keep some smoke close to the ground, particularly impacting the north side of Doney Park. Lighter smoke impacts were expected further from the fire, like on the Navajo and Hopi reservations, per the department.
Monday overnight winds may be lighter than Sunday, which could cause some smoke to drain. Smoke that doesn’t settle into Fort Valley, Flagstaff and Doney Park overnight may lift by Tuesday morning, according to ADEQ.
Monday’s forecast indicated strong winds with gusts up to 40-50 miles per hour, plus low humidity, according to the National Weather Service Flagstaff. Those conditions help wildfires spread rapidly.
Winds may be slightly lighter on Tuesday, lessening smoke impacts.
Strong winds on Sunday pushed the Pipeline Fire more than 15 miles. No structures or homes had been destroyed as of Sunday.
The American Red Cross opened a shelter at Sinagua Middle School in Flagstaff for residents evacuated due to the Pipeline Fire.
The Navajo Nation was also offering emergency shelter at the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort, with information available at 928-856-7200.
There’s an animal shelter at Fort Tuthill, run by the Coconino Humane Association. High Country Humane has evacuated, but is assisting with the stables at Fort Tuthill.
The fire call center number is 928-679-8525.
Reach the reporter at Alison.Steinbach@arizonarepublic.com or at 602-444-4282. Follow her on Twitter @alisteinbach.
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