Suspect Arrested Hours After Powerful Wildfire Appears

A wildfire continued to rage Monday north of Flagstaff, Arizona, a day after evacuation orders were issued for the affected area.

Officials said one man was taken into custody in connection with the fire, which was reported Sunday shortly after 10 a.m. Authorities did not release potential charges he might face.

After its start six miles north of Flagstaff, the Pipeline Fire had grown to encompass 4,500 acres by the end of the day Sunday, according to KSAZ-TV.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office announced on Facebook that one man had been detained in connection with the fire.

“Responding Deputies were given the description of a White Pickup truck leaving the area of the fire. Responding Deputies spotted a vehicle matching the description and conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle,” it posted.

“The driver, a 57-year-old male, was detained until Federal Law Enforcement Officers from the United States Forest Service arrived. The male was arrested by Forest Service Law Enforcement Officers and booked into the Coconino County Sheriff’s Detention Facility for Federal Natural Resource Violations. Federal regulations prohibit the release of the subject’s name, photo, and charges,” it posted.

KSAZ identified the man as Matthew Riser.

Almost 700 households were told to evacuate, with another 2,410 warned that evacuation may be necessary, Coconino County spokesman Trey Williams said Sunday, according to CNN.

The fire, fueled by high winds, advanced about 15 miles Sunday, officials said.

The Pipeline Fire is not far from where a wildfire known as the Tunnel Fire blazed across almost 20,000 acres of Arizona in April.

“Here we go again,” resident Euelda King said, noting that this was the family’s second evacuation of the year, according to ABC.

“The winds are high, and I think they’re going to have a little bit of a battle with it,” King said, noting that her family planned to stay at a Navajo casino, which has been opened to those fleeing the flames.

“With this thing going as fast as it is, it could get much closer. Of course, hoping it doesn’t,” King said.

CNN reported that on Sunday, 270 fire personnel, eight air tankers, and five helicopters were in action to fight the fire.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.