Three fires spreading rapidly northeast of Flagstaff, AZ

Haywire Fire, Pipeline Fire, and Double Fire

Updated at 7:06 a.m. MDT June 14, 2022

map Pipeline & Haywire Fires 930 p.m. MDT June 13, 2022
Map showing the perimeters of the Pipeline & Haywire Fires at 9:30 p.m. MDT June 13, 2022. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 1:41 a.m. MDT June 14, 2022.

A mapping flight at 9:38 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 behavior Monday when flames at least 400 feet high were seen in videos.

Pipeline & Haywire Fires June 14, 2022
View from the OLeary camera, north of the National Monument at 8 am. June 14, 2022.

In April of this year the 19,000-acre Tunnel Fire burned across the National Monument. The photo below was taken in 2017.

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, May 20, 2017.

Updated at 11:00 p.m. MDT June 13, 2022

I have seen and been under many smoke columns, but I’ve never seen this on a large fire. Things that come to mind are mountain wave and wind shear. And, GTFO.

Here’s another photo.

Pipeline Fire north of Flagstaff June 13, 2022, by @russdussel
Pipeline Fire north of Flagstaff June 13, 2022, by @russdussel

Fire officials said the Pipeline Fire has burned about 6,500 acres.

A man has been arrested Sunday in connection with starting the fire. He told officers he had ignited toilet paper after using it and placed it under a rock Saturday, and that he tried to put out the fire with his sleeping bag. His camp was 80 yards from where the fire started, according to court documents.

This is not the first time a wildfire has been ignited by burning toilet paper. We have eight other articles on Wildfire Today tagged “toilet paper”.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Dick.

Updated at 8:13 p.m. MDT June 13, 2022

Map of the Pipeline & Haywire Fires
Map of the Pipeline & Haywire Fires. Data accessed at 7 p.m. MDT June 13, 2022. The exact time the data was created on June 13 is unknown.

In a briefing Monday evening fire officials said at least one structure has been destroyed in the three fires burning north and northeast of Flagstaff, Arizona. It appears that the Pipeline, Haywire, and Double Fires have or will soon merge with the footprint from the Tunnel Fire that burned about 19,000 acres north of Flagstaff in April of this year.

The blaze was exhibiting extreme fire behavior Monday afternoon.

Coconino County has established a website with maps showing evacuation status.

Satellite photo smoke Pipeline and Haywire Fires
Satellite photo showing smoke from the Pipeline and Haywire Fires at 6:21 p.m. MDT June 13, 2022. The red arrow points to the fires. NOAA.

Monday afternoon the wind near the fire was gusting as high as 49 mph out of the south-southwest while the relative humidity dropped as low as 6 percent. This, and the very dry vegetation, accounts for the extreme fire behavior on Monday.

2:35 p.m. MDT June 13, 2022

map Pipeline Fire, June 13, 2022 Arizona Flagstaff
Map of the Pipeline Fire ane Haywire Fire, June 13, 2022. The Tunnel Fire, the green perimeter, burned in April, 2022. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 2:49 a.m. MDT June 13, 2022.

Three fires in northern Arizona are spreading rapidly in the Coconino National Forest north and northeast of Flagstaff.

The Pipeline Fire six miles north of the city started Sunday morning June 12. On Monday it has been pushed by winds gusting out of the southwest at 25 to 35 mph as the relative humidity dropped to 10 percent in the afternoon. It has reached the Tunnel Fire that blackened about 19,000 acres in April of this year. Judging from the massive smoke column it appears to be burning around it. Fire officials estimate it has blackened approximately 5,000 acres, but that number is changing hourly.

Pipeline Fire, June 13, 2022 Arizona Flagstaff
Pipeline Fire, June 13, 2022, by @RealTaoOfSwan.

Another fire, the Haywire Fire, was was reported Sunday afternoon on the southeast side of the Tunnel Fire perimeter. It is about seven miles northeast of the Pipeline Fire, making it unlikely that it could have begun as a spot fire started by a lofted burning ember. Fire authorities said the probable cause of the 1,600- acre fire is from a lightning strike several days earlier and is expected to merge with the Double Fire.

A third fire was also reported Sunday afternoon about two miles south of the Haywire Fire. The Double Fire has burned about 500 acres according to Forest officials and was likely also caused by lightning.

Satellite photo smoke Pipeline and Haywire Fires Arizona
Satellite photo of smoke from the Pipeline and Haywire Fires in Northern Arizona, 1:26 p.m. MDT June 13, 2022.

Evacuations are in effect, and are being coordinated by the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office.

Pipeline Fire, June 13, 2022 Arizona Flagstaff
Pipeline Fire, June 13, 2022, by Steve Bartosh.

The northern halves of Arizona and New Mexico are under a Red Flag Warning on Monday. The Spot Weather Forecast for the Haywire Fire issued at 5:42 a.m. Monday:

Dry conditions with strong southwest winds persisting
throughout the day. Winds are forecast to strengthen 
shortly after sunrise with peak gusts around 50 mph, localized
higher. Relative humidity in the upper 20s will drop below 15
percent by late morning. Minimal RH recovery is expected Monday
night with even worse recovery Tuesday night. Expect lighter,
breezy west to southwest winds Tuesday with dry conditions.

Pipeline Fire, June 13, 2022 Arizona Flagstaff
Smoke from the Pipeline Fire, June 13, 2022, by #pondo_leo.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

18 thoughts on “Three fires spreading rapidly northeast of Flagstaff, AZ”

      1. Sadly, many folks actually believe in space lasers and associated conspiratorial elements causing fires. Debunking these wild claims is just as important as addressing the underlying reasons that wildfires grow so quickly.

        1. Yes, this is unfortunately so true. I actually met one of these people and I tried to set them straight, while telling them about my experience, training in fire investigation and fire behaviour. Some of the fires she was stating that were started by “space lasers”, we actually know the cause, but she wouldn’t have any of it.

          1. Trying to use facts, data, direct experience, whatever is ineffective in trying to reason with conspiracy theorists. Seems every time there is a fire bust now there’s a growing number claiming fires were lit intentionally by immigrants, Antifa, communists, what have you, and of course that the FS intentionally let the fires go big etc. The Fire Information Officers have their work cut out for them trying to set the records straight. But bottom line is people who latch on to those theories will only see differently once they’ve been deprogrammed.

      2. Back in the 1988 Yellowstone fires, one of the more popular t-shirts was Yogi carrying a drip torch and BooBoo saying “Gee Yogi, Mister Ranger is going to be mad.” Those of us who’ve spent years in wildland fire take our jobs very seriously but still have Farside cartoon and Smokey cartoons on our bulletin boards.

  1. All wildland Firefighters and assisting crews be careful whether on the ground or in the air! Your families want you at home safely when you’re able! God bless y’all out there — and THANK YOU for doing all that you do!! ❤️‍🔥

  2. Interesting that the pipeline fire is reported to have been started by a subject burning toilet paper and that he had been arrested.

  3. Be part of the solution…”See something, say something!”

    Stay safe firefighters and police and military and civilians.

    🚒🇺🇸 🚓🇺🇸 🛩️🇺🇸

  4. That is an interesting smoke column. Ambient surface winds slamming into the back of a rapidly forming convection column at the head of the fire and a subsequent eddy?

  5. What cause the burns around Flagstaff? Did it stared prescribed burns? If the fires keep going Arizona will be a fried cookie.

    1. A couple were lightning holdovers, another was human caused-a person was burning toilet paper.

  6. The longer I live, the more I am amazed by the stupidity of humanity…or lack thereof.
    Society seriously needs a reboot –

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