The Arizona Slide Fire has forced the evacuations of 100 threatened business and homes in a 2-mile stretch north of the state park, while 15 people stayed at a shelter in Flagstaff.
Hundreds of firefighters arrived in northern Arizona on Wednesday to battle a wildfire burning in scenic Oak Creek Canyon near Slide Rock State Park. About 200 firefighters and other personnel already assigned to the 450-acre Arizona Slide Fire, including five Hotshot crews are battling the fire, Coconino National Forest officials said Wednesday.
With wildfire conditions dying down in Southern California after a fiery rage that ensued most of last week, fire crews have been freed up to battle the Arizona fire, Bill Morse said, a Flagstaff Fire Department captain and a spokesman for firefighting managers.
There have not been reports of injuries or structures burned at this time. Slide Rock State Park is a popular recreation area due to its natural rock water slides.
The fire was moving up the canyon’s steep walls, creating hazy conditions when it sent smoke up into the air in Flagstaff.
A resort near the fire utilized water sprayers to keep the flames at bay and its building was able to avoid damage, Morse said.
A separate wildfire in the state burned 200 acres and closed Interstate 17 near Cordes Junction in both directions for more than four hours late Tuesday per ABC News. I-17, which is a main traffic route between northern Arizona and the Phoenix area, reopened Tuesday night.
The two blazes ignited and with poor drought conditions that have left parts of the state dry, leaving Arizona officials in fear about the prospect of a damaging 2014 fire season.
The Arizona Slide Fire that started Tuesday afternoon is believed to be human-caused authorities say.
State Route Highway 89A remains closed through the canyon between Sedona and Flagstaff.