Slide Fire Keeps Growing, But Crews Keeping It Away From Flagstaff

May 22, 2014

(Photo by Laurel Morales - KJZZ)
The Slide Fire incident commander Tony Sciacca speaks to the crowd at Thursday's public meeting.
(Courtesy of Brady Smith, Coconino National Forest)
A helicopter aids in the fight against the Slide Fire in Oak Creek Canyon near a fork called Sterling Canyon in efforts to keep the Slide Fire from moving east toward Pumphouse Wash Canyon.

The Slide Fire has grown to 7,500 acres and is now 5 percent contained. About 200 people have been displaced, and 3,000 people in Flagstaff neighborhoods are on standby. Many of them came to a public meeting Thursday night expecting answers.

Ana Novak isn’t waiting for an evacuation notice. She’s left Kachina Village already, but she’s still worried about her home.

Novak, along with several others at the meeting, wondered why officials haven’t closed the forest to campers. Even though the Slide Fire was human caused, people are still allowed to have campfires in designated rings.

"People ignore rules all the time, and when they come out they’re going to be camping in the forest. They don’t realize it’s our backyard, literally our backyard," Novak said.

Coconino National Forest acting Supervisor Scott Russell explained they are monitoring the forest and it hasn’t reached the fuel trigger for a closure.  And he says closing the forest would have economic impacts on loggers and others who work there.

"And so all that is a tremendous burden on people whose lives are intertwined with the national forest, so it’s that balance we’re trying to strike," Russell said.

The Incident Commander Tony Sciacca told the crowd his confidence is high that the fire crews will be able to keep the blaze from running up a dry wash toward Flagstaff homes.

For additional information: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3874/

The Slide Fire incident management team has created a Facebook page to provide updates: https://www.facebook.com/SlideFireInfo