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Tragedy unites communities like nothing else. Right now, the world is watching the Slide Fire burn in Oak Creek Canyon.Slide Fire

As of the most recent update, more than 820 firefighters and first responders are on the scene, trying to establish fire lines to prevent this blaze from reaching populated areas south of Flagstaff on the rim or structure in and around the canyon.

Families in Oak Creek Canyon were evacuated late Tuesday and early Wednesday and have taken shelter in Flagstaff or with friends and family in the area.

The plume of smoke from the nearly 5,000-acre fire descended into Sedona on Wednesday night, filling our city as well as the rest of the Verde Valley with the smell of burning forest just a few miles away.
How we, as a community, respond to a natural disaster shows how our community comes together to support each other during a tragedy.

The generosity thus far has been boundless. Local businesses are offering specials, discounts, free supplies and hotel rooms to firefighters and those displaced. People have offered their spare bedrooms, sofas and supplies through Facebook and social media.

Residents have helped us cover the news. Village of Oak Creek resident Ted Grussing took our photojournalist Jordan Reece up in his motorized glider for aerial photos. SFD crews allowed our staff up to the Incident
Command staging area at Slide Rock to capture photos of the helicopter water reloading. Residents have sent us photos and called in news tips.

In addition to Sedona Fire District crews, men and women from other agencies all over Arizona and the Southwest have been called up on a moment’s notice to head out to the Slide Fire, which could last days if not weeks.

Wildland firefighters and specially trained Hotshot crews are trained to battle blazes in the worst of the worst conditions. However, they are in need of extra resources such as waters, Gatorades and sports drinks, chocolate, Power Bars and wool socks. Any other supplies or resources — even letters of encouragement and thanks — would help. Bring them to SFD Station No. 1 in West Sedona and local firefighters will get them to the men and women on the line.

Oak Creek Canyon itself has been devastated. According to fire progression maps, the Slide Fire burned the west side of the canyon from base to rim, from just north of Slide Rock State Park to beyond the switchbacks on State Route 89A. Fire swept over West Fork, one of the most picturesque parts of the canyon. These areas will take years to fully recover. Rain, especially from the late summer monsoon, will wash debris into Oak Creek affecting water quality, the fragile ecosystem downriver as well as the lives of people who live and work in the canyon.

How we move forward once the Slide Fire is out will show that Sedona may be a diverse community, but always a united one.

The Slide Fire didn’t unite the Sedona community — it just revealed what it already means to be a part of it.

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  • Stephanie S.

    Hello my Northern Arizona Friends,
    Having been a local for a splendid thirteen years, it was with utter shock and sadness, I learned about the 'Slide' Fire that has consumed so much spectacular forestland (omg... The West Fork gone! oh, please preserve Indian Gardens)! I am so glad to learn Sedona proper was spared the brunt...and Flagstaff too. But the loss is great to wildlife, to the rare environs of this land, to its utter beauty and rarity....
    Know, that I join thousands around the world (yes-- around the world, we know what a rare and special place this is!)-- sending our best intentions-- prayers--blessings--grace-- that the fire will be contained and stopped soon, for the safety of the firefighters, community residents, homes and businesses, etc., and for the wildlife that managed to survive this destruction. And, may the perpetrator of this fire be caught and prosecuted to the furthest extent of the law for causing such devastating suffering and loss.

    But, I know you 'locals' are a resilient people-- a loyal community, and your love for this place, this N. AZ. 'home' will let you soon turn this crisis into major opportunity and accomplishment.

    On this Memorial Day weekend, I will be remembering you Sedona, and Flagstaff, and also the heroic souls of the 19 'hotshots' of the Prescott Fire (you are not forgotten: may your lives given, have prepared the current hotshots fighting this Slide Fire, so that their lives will be protected and preserved.

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