Arizona's Slide Rock wildfire continues to grow

By Kyle Johnson,

The wildfire raging in northern Arizona continues to grow and is expected to likely double in size while firefighters work to contain the blaze.

Entering Memorial Day weekend, Oak Creek Canyon remains closed and will likely continue to be shuttered until sometime next week, while two Sedona and Flagstaff communities are preparing to possibly evacuate, reports The Arizona Republic.

Fire officials say that the Slide Fire is now about 16.5 square miles in size and crews have only about 5 percent contained. "The take-home here is crews are making good progress still, making it safer for firefighters," said Tony Sciacca, the incident commander.

Flagstaff fire Capt. Bill Morse said that crews are prepared for possible "extreme fire behavior" after cool air on Friday night gave way to a warm Saturday.

Part of the fire's growth was also because of burnout operations put into place by fire crews, according to The Associated Press. The controlled burnout is to quickly clear out potential fuel for the Slide fire.

Thousand of people were evacuated on Thursday as the fire continued to grow since erupting on Tuesday, but officials say that no homes have been lost to the blaze.

Coconino County Sheriff's Office said in a statement, that many who were evacuated could begin to return home by the end of the holiday weekend if containment continues, but those who live around Oak Creek Canyon and Slide Rock State Park, will have to continue to wait.



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