CCSO: Man burning yard debris likely started fire that sparked Winona evacuations

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The Coconino County sheriff’s deputies arrested Steve Carter, 54, Sunday.  (Source: CCSO and 3TV/CBS 5) The Coconino County sheriff’s deputies arrested Steve Carter, 54, Sunday. (Source: CCSO and 3TV/CBS 5)
FLAGSTAFF, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A man who was burning yard debris might be responsible for the fire that destroyed his neighbor’s home and forced dozens of Winona residents to evacuate.

Coconino County sheriff’s deputies arrested Steve Carter, 54, Sunday.

According to the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, high winds whipped up the flames from Carter’s fire and dry conditions allowed them to spread out of control.

The brush fire was reported in the Winona community, which is about 10 miles east of Flagstaff, just after 12:15 p.m.

Within less than hour, 75 Winona homes had been evacuated and residents of Doney Park and Timberline Fernwood had been given pre-evacuation orders.

[READ MORE: Brush fire forces evacuation of community east of Flagstaff]

[SLIDESHOW: Dozens evacuated due to brush fire near Flagstaff]

The Copley Fire not only destroyed Carter’s neighbor’s house, it also burned several outbuildings and scorched 86 acres. That’s slightly larger than the Disneyland theme park (85 acres), not including the under-construction "Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge" area.

Winona residents were allowed home at about 8:30 Sunday night after having spent most of the day at Summit Fire Station. Fire units and sheriff’s deputies stayed in the area through the night to keep an eye on things.

Carter was booked on suspicion of felony endangerment, felony criminal damage and misdemeanor reckless burning.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona wildfires]


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