Strong winds and steep terrain are challenging crews fighting the Slide Fire in Oak Creek Canyon south of Flagstaff. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports from Flagstaff, a Type 1 Incident Management Team has taken control of the fire that has grown dramatically since first being reported Tuesday afternoon.
Officials with the U.S. Forest Service say the Slide Fire is more than 1,000 acres in size and zero percent contained. Overnight the flames climbed the western walls of Oak Creek Canyon and have now entered the Harding Point Area north of West Fork.
There are 200 personnel on scene, including 20 hotshot crews. Forty additional fire engines as well as multiple air tankers and helicopters are there.
Southwest Area Management Teams spokesman Bill Morse says crews are working around the clock to contain the blaze.
“One of our biggest concerns in this area is catastrophic wildfire coming up out of Oak Creek Canyon and burning towards Flagstaff. We’ve been preparing for fires like this for a long time, doing everything we can.”
The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office has issued a pre-evacuation notice for the Kachina Village and Forest Highlands neighborhoods. Winds are predicted to die down later this week and a chance of rain exists for Friday and Saturday.