The Slide Fire Near Sedona

5/27/14

I live in Sedona, Arizona—right next to the Slide Fire in Oak Creek Canyon.
Everyone within about a hundred miles has seen the haze and the smoke billowing, depending on which way the wind blows. I’ve smelled it in the middle of the night and first thing in the morning. One morning I got up at three a.m. and peeked out windows to check for flames. None, thank goodness. The fire is about ten miles from our home by vehicle, but I expect that, as the raven flies, it’s actually only six or seven miles away by flight.

There’s a site called sedonawebcam.com which automatically photographs areas of the city in full color, real time. Full color seemed a joke when all I saw was gray and black, and faint silhouettes of mountains. I checked back at night, thinking I would see only black, and there was that, and the lights along 89A with traffic moving sensibly, It looked like a littte toy town. The next morning the smoke had lifted a little and I saw mountain climbers milling around on top of Sugarloaf Mountain. I could see clothing colors—a
red shirt, yellow pants, blue and black.

Several hundred people had been evacuated from their homes, most of
them taken to Flagstaff, up the road from the devastation of an area that had once been declared as the most beautiful canyon in the country.

All the while, brave firefighters were applying their skills, cordoning off sections where they could do some back burns so that fire would meet fire and burn itself out. They knew their jobs, and executed them well. So well Imagethat as of this writing no houses or businesses have been destroyed, and no lives lost. They are so appreciated, so valued.

Banners fly bearing this message: THANK YOU, FIREFIGHTERS!

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