All of us who live here in Sedona are in shock and disbelief to what is happening in our town at this very minute. Since last Tuesday, the Slide Fire, a fire that was human caused, has consumed over 9,000 acres and has destroyed some of the most beautiful wilderness and land in the United States. It is such a tragedy for all of us who live here and the one thing that is always on our minds as fire is the biggest threat to our town. One very sad part of this story is that one of the most famous hiking trails in the United States, called the West Fork trail, which is up in Oak Creek Canyon where the fire is ravaging, has been hit pretty hard by this fire. No one knows as of now how much of this beloved trail is destroyed and it might be weeks or months before any of us know. This is probably the most popular and most loved hiking trail in all of Sedona and the thought of not enjoying it they way we are use to…. is too much for any of us to think about. Waking up every morning to smoke all over our town is the worst feeling in the world and it seems as though it’s all anyone in town can talk about. Much of the town was at a town hall meeting yesterday at the high school where the fire department, police, hot shot fire teams, mayor, forest service officials and just about anyone dealing with handling the fire was present. They explained the origin of the fire and how it spread so quickly through the mountains and valleys just above Sedona along Highway 89A, that links us to Flagstaff. They also told us that they are back burning the fire so that it will eventually die down but that it will end up burning over 23,000 acres. Some of my friends have had to evacuate from their homes and all we can do is pray that we get some rain soon to help squash this horrible nightmare. They think the fire might not stop for another 8-9 days at least. It is so difficult living through this nightmare. We love our town so much… and to see it burn and smell the smoke every day is like nothing I have ever been through.
Driving around town you can view the devastating effects of the fire from just about everywhere but some places are scarier than others in West Sedona. The photo below is right by the high school and a terrible sight to see.
I was able to drive up Oak Creek Canyon on Sunday morning as they let people drive up to Slide Rock but the police stop you and only let up locals with a police escort after Slide Rock. Visibility was pretty bad and seemed like a white out in places but my one happy moment was realizing that Garlands, my favorite place along Oak Creek Canyon to sit and eat and enjoy the outdoors, was not harmed at all by the fire. I was able to talk with Sarah who works there about how bad the canyon was and when things might get back to to normal. She and her boyfriend live up in the canyon and they had been driving down exactly when the fire started on Tuesday and saw the flames by Slide Rock and said it was not very big. She said it was a matter of minutes almost before it became monstrous. Here are photos of Garlands and other shots along the canyon showing the smoky conditions out there. But the good news is Garlands is open for business and that is some of the best news I have heard in way too long!!! Just hoping and praying that West Fork is not too burnt from this fire!
These 5 following photos are not mine but are ones I found by other photographers that really show the power of this fire. This has been a very tough time for all of us that live here but it is how amazing this city has come together and worked together to fight this nightmare.
The fire fighters especially deserve the highest thanx in the world for saving so much including structures and lives. They are just amazing!!! But so is everyone that has been involved with stopping this horrible fire….thank all of you that have been part of saving our city!!! We love Sedona!!!