OAK CREEK CANYON, Ariz. (AP) — Hundreds of firefighters poured into Arizona on Wednesday to battle a wind-whipped wildfire burning in a rugged canyon between Sedona and Flagstaff, sending up choking plumes of smoke and scuttling Memorial Day weekend travel plans in the popular camping and hiking area.
The fire nearly doubled in size to 1.32 square miles and could grow by nightfall to 2,000 acres, or about 3 square miles.
The fire broke out at the start of the tourist season and closed the main road between Sedona and Flagstaff — two cities that attract large amounts of visitors in summer months. The fire is burning near Slide Rock State Park, a popular recreation area because of its natural rock water slides.
About 200 firefighters and other personnel are already assigned to the fire, including five Hotshot crews, Coconino National Forest officials said Wednesday. An additional 15 Hotshot crews are on order, as well as 10 other firefighting crews and dozens of fire engines, officials said. A top-level fire management team was taking over command of the fire.
Follow the Arizona Daily Star's live blog to stay up to date on the Slide Fire