Navajo Nation Office of President and Vice President
On Wednesday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez was joined by Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources Director Dr. Rudy Shebala, Division of Transportation Director Garret Silversmith, Division of Social Services Director Deannah Neswood-Gishey as he met with Coconino County Supervisors Lena Fowler and Judy Begay and other officials to receive updates and to offer resources to Navajo residents who were evacuated or on alert due to the Pipeline and Haywire Fires in Flagstaff, Arizona. The meeting was coordinated by Supervisor Fowler and held at the Native Americans for Community Action complex in Flagstaff.
As of June 15, Coconino County officials reported that the Pipeline Fire has burned 22,888 acres with 31% containment and the Haywire Fire has burned 5,065 acres with no containment. Currently, 670 emergency personnel including 12 Hotshot crews, 7 hand crews, 60 engines, 11 water tenders and four dozers, and aerial resources including 8 helicopters are deployed to help contain the fire.
“We stand with the Flagstaff community with our thoughts, prayers and resources. Through our unified efforts, strength, and prayers, we will persevere and get through this emergency situation. Our team will continue to assist the families and provide support. I thank Coconino County Supervisor Fowler and all of the emergency response team members for their support and assistance,” said President Nez.
Officials are transitioning from a 500-person type 3 crew to a much larger type 1 team through the Great Basin Coordination Center. They anticipate the fire lasting into next week.
Crews are also looking forward to battling the fire with lighter winds this week and expected precipitation this weekend. Regarding evacuations, approximately 2,195 have been evacuated due to the Pipeline Fire and 281 due to the Haywire Fire, with an additional 1,641 on pre-evacuation status.
When the Pipeline Fire began on Sunday, Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise CEO Brian Parrish immediately offered support by housing evacuees at the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort, located approximately 23-miles east of Flagstaff, Arizona. Parrish said the report is currently housing 59 families, Navajo and non-Navajo, and are working on identifying more families in need.
While the Navajo Nation does not currently have any communities under evacuation, health officials are cautioning residents about heavy smoke in the surrounding areas, which will continue to be monitored by community health representatives who are also on standby to help transport/evacuate families to Twin Arrows if necessary. Smoke from both fires has reportedly reached areas as far as Denver, CO.
Tuba City Community Health Representatives requested help from the Kayenta, Chinle and Fort Defiance service units as they provide resources and assist individuals with pre-existing health conditions, including local elders.
As fire containment efforts continue, officials anticipate extensive flooding in the Flagstaff area with the loss of vegetation similar to the 2010 Shultz Fire. He mentioned how sandbags have been used to mitigate flood damage before and that the community will be hosting volunteer sandbag
production events and other support efforts in the coming weeks, which can be found at the Northern Arizona United Way’s website at https://nazunitedway.org.
For more information and official updates to be found on the Coconino County website at https://coconino.az.gov/2926/Pipeline-FireHaywire-Fire
Highway 89 has reopened, but officials continue to urge drivers to use extreme caution in the area. The Navajo Department of Agriculture reported that the nearby Navajo-owned ranches, who have evacuated equipment and as many as 180 cattle.
The Haywire Fire is burning approximately seven miles from the boundary of the Navajo Nation and the Pipeline Fire is encroaching on Navajo Nation owned ranches. The Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President also provided food boxes and bottled water to families impacted by the fire.
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