By Sedona Fire Chief Kris Kazian
Today, our community woke up to a blanket of smoke covering the area. This is due to the shift of winds and a weather inversion. We expect this condition to lift out of the area by late morning and have a likelihood of continuing to follow this same pattern for the next week or two.
We want to be clear – the fire has not gotten any closer to the City of Sedona or Village of Oak Creek, as it continues to burn in a northern direction. At this time, the fire is anchored at the northern end of Slide Rock and primarily has not crossed the roadway of Highway 89A. At the time of this update, there have been no structures lost in the fire and we have no reported injuries. We expect to see heavy utilization of aerial resources and there will be over 800 firefighting personnel on the fire lines working day and night shifts to get containment on the fire. The difficult terrain, wind patterns, and dry conditions have led to some extreme fire behavior making management of the fire difficult.
We are currently planning a community meeting in the next day or two. Time and location are yet to be confirmed, but we will make sure we get that information out as soon as we know the details. We want to make sure we are communicating things effectively and everyone knows what is going on. Having good information on the situation and what is being done helps create peace of mind for all. For now, I can tell you, we have a highly qualified and dedicated Type 1 Incident Management Team assigned to the fire and they will work tirelessly to get resolution on the fire as quickly as possible.
We will be working with ADEQ to closely monitor the air quality measuring station operated by ADEQ located at Fire Station 4 in Uptown for the health and safety of our community. We recommend closing windows utilizing the air conditioning to minimize impact into your home. If you have any medical issues related to the smoke, you should limit your exposure and call 911 if there are any issues needing emergency services.
We encourage you to utilize the website and social media outlets listed below to keep up to date on official information that may be beneficial to you and your family.
We have been inundated with requests to help. We are so amazed at the outpouring of support to our firefighters and our community. At this time we are happy to say, we have plenty of water, Gatorade, protein bars, beef jerky, etc. We want to honor those who want to help, and are setting up an account at the National Bank of Arizona to accept donations to establish a Community Wildland Prevention fund. The proceeds we receive will go directly back into our community as a way to reduce the wildland risk to our community so we can help minimize future devastating wildland fires. We want to be proactive in this effort and allow everyone who wants to help have a positive and effective way to help our community. As soon as the donation account is established, we will provide that information.
Sedona Fire District is at full staffing with our personnel and protecting our community as we typically do. We also continue to have units working in the suppression of the Slide Fire and the management system is in place. It is important to us for the community to know we are ready to continue to provide you all the services you need during this incident. SFD personnel have been working around the clock the last few days to handle all of the emergencies as well as supporting the Slide Fire incident.
Please feel free to contact me directly if there are any concerns about anything related to the fires or the response to wildfires. We have a great relationship with all of our partner agencies and we will continue to work together to make our community prepared and safe every chance we get. Hope to see you at the meeting when details are finalized. Sedona is an incredible place and we are honored to serve you!
Sedona Fire District – 928-282-6800
For the latest information on the Slide Fire, contact the Joint Information Center at 928-679-4173, 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Website for Slide Fire Updates http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/3/
Flickr (photos and maps): www.flickr.com/coconinonationalforest