Jun 13, 2022

Man arrested in connection with Pipeline fire near Flagstaff Transcript

Man arrested in connection with Pipeline fire near Flagstaff Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsFlagstaff FireMan arrested in connection with Pipeline fire near Flagstaff Transcript

Strong winds drove a fast-growing wildfire north of Flagstaff over the weekend that spurred numerous evacuations, and it may have been sparked by a person. Read the transcript here.

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Jonathan McCall: (00:00)
We start this Sunday at 10:00 with breaking news, a massive wildfire burning dangerously close to the city of Flagstaff. Thanks so much for joining us tonight here on 12 News. I’m Jonathan McCall. Rachel, enjoying the night off.

Jonathan McCall: (00:12)
The pipeline fire sparked this morning, and tonight flames have already scorched thousands of acres. Here’s the very latest for you tonight, that fire starting six miles north of Flagstaff this morning, with a large plume of smoke. At last check, flames have charred anywhere from four to five thousand acres and have been pushed by more than 15 miles of strong winds.

Jonathan McCall: (00:33)
Tonight, a man has been arrested and is now facing federal charges in connection with the fire. Nearly 300 firefighters are on the ground tonight, not only battling the flames, but also the hot and windy conditions, which are pushing those flames east. A shelter has also now been set up at Sinagua Middle School for folks who have now been forced to evacuate.

Jonathan McCall: (00:54)
If you live in the Flagstaff area, you’ve likely seen the huge plumes of smoke from the fire. This map shows exactly where the Pipeline Fire is burning tonight. Again, it is six miles north of Downtown Flagstaff. It’s also nearly the same distance just southeast of the Arizona Snowbowl.

Jonathan McCall: (01:14)
Meanwhile, this is a live look at current evacuation orders currently in place. Evacuation go orders, which are those in green, are in effect for areas around Schultz Pass Road, the Arizona Snowbowl, as well as Timberline. Set status, which is the yellow, is in place for folks in Mt Elden Lookout and Estates and Doney Park. Right now, a stretch of U.S. 89 is shut down in both directions in that area, over fears that the flames could jump the highway.

Jonathan McCall: (01:43)
Meanwhile, take a look at this. This is video from Deena, who was driving through Downtown Flagstaff, watching those large plumes of smoke cover the city. And Heitland took this video showing the huge plumes of smoke coming through Schultz Pass. She says she lives on Townsend-Winona Road near the 89. And tonight we are live in Flagstaff with Team 12’s Michael Doudna, and Michael, you got a chance to talk with a homeowner who just went through this same process of evacuating just months ago for another wildfire.

Michael Doudna: (02:15)
That’s exactly right, Jonathan. I mean, it’s been pretty much a deja-vu-like nightmare for some of the people who’ve lived around here, and what’s really fueling this nightmare are these winds. You can still see the wind whipping my hair, probably, and it’s fueling the fire that you can actually see glowing off in the distance here, that reddish glow with that smoke, and that wind has pushed it along pretty much the same path as the Tunnel Fire was just a month and a half ago. It has a lot of people wondering if they’re going to see the same results once again.

Speaker 3: (02:45)
All right, here we go again.

Michael Doudna: (02:49)
Black and brown smoke, climbing once again, miles into the air.

Britney: (02:54)
Honestly, I feel like I want to throw up.

Speaker 5: (02:56)
Annoyed that it keeps happening.

Yuolda: (02:58)
Just sitting and waiting right now.

Michael Doudna: (02:59)
Families now waiting and wondering what’s next for the Pipeline Fire, after already burning thousands of acres.

Bill: (03:06)
It’s like deja vu.

Michael Doudna: (03:07)
Bill, Britney, and Yuolda are evacuating again, just a month and a half after they had to evacuate because of the Tunnel Fire.

Bill: (03:16)
You know, it’s kind of a strange situation to get caught up in two fires in two months.

Michael Doudna: (03:21)
But this time there’s an arrest. Officials say 57-year-old Matthew Riser now faces two federal charges in connection with the fire.

Britney: (03:31)
Yeah, super frustrating. Like that’s all I can say, is I’m just really angry at the person. I’m glad he’s caught.

Michael Doudna: (03:36)
With Riser now in custody, families are left to wonder what’s next for their homes. For now, the wind is blowing the fire to the northeast, which is thankfully away from most residential areas. But officials warn that that direction can change in a matter of moments with a slight change in the weather.

Speaker 8: (03:53)
If the wind changes direction, it changes everything.

Britney: (03:56)
Our fate is in the wind’s hand.

Michael Doudna: (04:01)
Now there are hundreds of firefighters that are out here trying to make sure they contain the fire as much as possible, and that includes aircraft, helicopters, and hotshot crews, and we expect that number to grow in coming days as a type two team will expect to start arriving tomorrow, and with it, of course, more personnel, and likely more aircraft and supplies as well to help try to contain this fire, even though it has burned over 4,000 acres so far. We’re live in Flagstaff, Michael Doudna, 12 News.

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