Pipeline/Haywire Fire morning update, 06/14/22: suspect makes first court appearance, officials confirm at least one structure burned
DECLARATION OF EMERGENCY
The Coconino County Board of Supervisors yesterday declared a State of Emergency due to the impacts of the Pipeline Fire burning near Flagstaff on the San Francisco Peaks.
The declaration allows the county to expend emergency funds from all available sources and request assistance from the State of Arizona.
The Coconino County fire map shows at least 20,000 acres burned so far. Fire managers say a true estimate has been difficult to assess because high winds have kept them from doing overnight infrared fly overs which give a better sense of the size of the fire.
At a press briefing Monday night, Forest Service officials confirmed at least one structure has been destroyed.
Crews are now battle two other fires in the vicinity of the Pipeline Fire. The Haywire Fire was reported Monday morning and has grown to at least 1,600 acres. The Double Fire was also reported Monday and is approximately 500 acres. It’s believed to have started several days ago from a lightning strike.
Many communities remain evacuated.
A U.S. Forest Service Type 2 Incident Management Team is currently on site to command fire operation, and a Type 1 Incident Management Team has been ordered and is expected to arrive today.
During last night’s media briefing, the question was asked why hasn’t the forest been closed due to extremely dry conditions, a lack of rain and the destructive Tunnel Fire which burned more than 30 structures just a few weeks ago. Forest Service officials say conditions still don’t meet the 16 point criteria used to determine temporary forest closures.
SUSPECT MAKES FIRST COURT APPEARANCE
A man arrested in connection with the Pipeline Fire burning on the San Francisco Peaks made his first appearance in federal court Monday.
At a hearing in Flagstaff, documents in the case of 57-year-old Matthew Riser stated he had burned toilet paper and put it under a rock at his campsite not realizing it would smolder to become the nation’s number one priority wildfire within a matter of hours.
In a statement, Riser said he tried to put the fire out with his sleeping bag. He was seen driving at high speed away from the ignition point of the Pipeline Fire and stopped by law enforcement near Highway 180.
Riser admitted he had seen signs that said no campfires were allowed in the area due to Stage 2 Fire Restrictions.
He was charged with building a fire during restrictions, residing on the national forest and possession of a controlled substance.
His attorney said there is no evidence he was living in the forest or that he was responsible for the Pipeline Fire as the area of ignition is heavily used by the visiting public.
FEMA AUTHORIZES ASSISTANCE FUNDS
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has authorized the use of federal funds to assist the state of Arizona in battling the Pipeline Fire.
On Sunday, the state submitted a request for a Fire Management Assistance Grant. At the time of the request, the fire was threatening approximately 2,100 homes in and around Doney Park, Timberline and Black Bill Park. The fire also threatened schools, fire stations, post offices, cultural sites, cell towers and electrical transmission lines.
FEMA’s grant assistance provides funding for up to 75% of eligible firefighting costs. The Disaster Relief Fund provides allowances for
grant assistance through FEMA to assist in fighting fires that threaten to become dire situations.
Current information about the status and activity of the Pipeline Fire and suppression efforts can be found on Inciweb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8152/.
A map of the current evacuation area can be found on Coconino County’s Emergency Management website at www.coconino.az.gov/ready.
Para encontrar este comunicado de prensa en español, por favor visite https://coconino.az.gov/ y ‘Select Language’ en la esquina izquierda del sitio web, y haga clic en Noticias del condado para la publicación reciente.
County authorities strongly encourage residents to sign up for emergency notifications, which can also be accessed on the county’s website.
U.S. Highway 89 is closed north of Flagstaff: the southbound lane at milepost 430 and the northbound lane at milepost 427.
Real-time highway conditions are available on the Arizona Department of Transportation travel information website, www.az511.gov, or by calling 511. You can also download the AZ 511 app and follow ADOT’s Twitter fee, @ArizonaDOT.
RESOURCES FOR EVACUEES
Numerous resources are available for evacuees of the Pipeline Fire:
Coconino County has set up a call center at 928-679-8525.
The Red Cross has opened an emergency shelter at Sinagua Middle School, 3950 E. Butler, in Flagstaff.
The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise and Twin Arrows Casino and Resort are offering emergency lodging and shelter to people impacted by the Pipeline Fire, more information is at 928-856-7200, prompt 2.
Household pets may be taken to the Coconino Humane Association at 3501 E. Butler Ave. in Flagstaff.
Livestock including horses, goats, sheep, pigs and chickens may be taken to the Fort Tuthill County Stables.