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Even before Oak Creek Canyon residents and business owners returned to their properties Thursday, May 29, U.S. Forest Service officials had begun assessing damage caused by the Slide Fire and will A wildland firefighter holds the fire line along State Route 89A as the Slide Fire burns. The fire has burned 21,067 acres from Slide Rock State Park to 9 miles north. At the fire’s peak, 1,200 firefighters were on the line, supported by nine helicopters and other aircraft but the number has diminished to 676 personnel as crews contained the fire. The cost to battle the blaze currently stands at $8 million.
focus on reopening recreation areas.

“We will reopen areas as appropriate, with our first priority being public safety,” District Ranger Nicole Branton said. “There are a lot of snags, a lot of hazards — dead trees, falling rocks. Please have patience with us as we do our assessment.”

Branton was among several officials from local, state and federal agencies involved in fighting the fire and preparing for post-fire activities who spoke Wednesday, May 28, at a community meeting about the Slide Fire.

More than 120 people attended the meeting, held in Sedona Red Rock High School’s Performing Arts Center.

It was there that Jim Driscoll, chief deputy of the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, announced the mandatory evacuation of Oak Creek Canyon was being lifted.

For the full story, see the Friday, May 30, edition of the Sedona Red Rock News.

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