Fire In Flagstaff Update
Flagstaff Update: Pipeline Fire 27% Contained
Near Flagstaff, Arizona, a large fire has engulfed nearly 23,000 acres. The fire continues to grow despite evacuations being lifted and emergency declarations being issued. The Pipeline Fire, which began Sunday morning, was 27% contained by Wednesday afternoon. Fire crews are battling the fire with helicopters and ground operations. Approximately 360 firefighters are involved in the firefighting effort.
Strong winds have fueled the Pipeline Fire, which started six miles north from Flagstaff. A fire lookout reported the fire at 10:15 a.m. The fire is spreading in all directions. It has closed U.S. 89 north from Flagstaff at mileposts 445, 423 and 445. No word yet on when the road will reopen. In addition, Buffalo Park in northern Flagstaff has been closed.
As of late Monday, the Pipeline Fire was still burning near Flagstaff. However, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office has lifted evacuation orders in some communities. Wupatki Trails, Sacred Mountain Trading Post were declared safe. Coconino County Board of Supervisors also declared a state of emergencies. Flagstaff was also forced to evacuate hundreds of homes due to the fire.
Throughout the day, firefighters are working to contain the fire, monitor its perimeter, and extinguish hot spots in the interior. They are also patrolling containment lines to secure the southern edge of the fire. As of Tuesday night, the winds will remain relatively low and smoke impacts will be minimal. People living in the affected areas are advised to keep their windows shut and to avoid any outdoor activities. Windy conditions have made it more difficult to contain the fire.
State Highway 89 in Flagstaff has reopened from mileposts 426 to 433. Nearly 19,000 acres of the Tunnel Fire has been destroyed and hundreds of residents have been forced to evacuate since it started on April 17. Currently, there are 38 large wildfires burning in four states and the National Interagency Fire Center reports 6,700 firefighters are on the ground.
The USFS is investigating the cause of the Pipeline Fire. However, officials are not able to discuss the specifics of the investigation. In the meantime, USFS has deployed 13 engines, nine crews, six prevention patrol units, three dozers, and a water tender to fight the fire. The USFS is also offering escort services to evacuated areas.