The Pipeline Fire burning in the Coconino National Forest north of Phoenix near Flagstaff, Arizona grew rapidly on Sunday to 4,500 acres. Smoke from the fire is blowing right into southern Colorado and it was easy to see it early Monday morning.

The Pipeline Fire as seen from Flagstaff, Arizona. Photo taken Sunday, June 13 looking north.

It will be a challenging day to fight fires in Arizona and the Pipeline Fire is likely to grow rapidly again Monday afternoon. The near-surface smoke forecast from the FOX21 Storm Team Storm-Cast computer model is picking up on a higher amount of smoke (indicated by the brightest red colors) around the four corners in the afternoon. This area of increased smoke is likely to blow toward the heart of the viewing area through the evening. Most of the smoke will be aloft, but some could reach the surface. Despite this fire being hundreds of miles away, it is creating a tremendous amount of smoke which is being carried into our area thanks to southwest winds aloft.

We are hopeful that a weak front early Tuesday can clean up the atmosphere, at least at the surface. It’s likely that smoke continues in the mid-level of the atmosphere through the middle of the week.