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7:30 p.m. update: Slide fire to triple in size
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7:30 p.m. update: Slide fire to triple in size

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Slide fire to triple in size

The final burn scar of the Slide fire could stretch to 25,000 acres, fire officials told residents of Sedona Friday evening.

And the cost of fighting the fire so far: $2.2 million.

Residents also found out the pre-evacuation order for Kachina Village and Forest Highlands will not be lifted any time soon.

Type 1 Incident Deputy Manager Pruett Small said fire crews are trying to draw a box around the western side of the fire in order to contain any embers that may fly out of the canyon.

“We can’t send firefighters into these drainages and not have them get injured,” he said referring to an infrared map of the fire in Oak Creek Canyon. “We have an obligation to send them back to their families.”

More in Saturday's Arizona Daily Sun.

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1:30 p.m. update: Firefighters are using helicopters to get the upper hand on the Slide fire. The helicopters are igniting fires at the top of the canyon's slopes.

According to officials, this creates a low intensity fire that prevents the fire from gaining speed while traveling upslope.

Due to the extreme terrain, firefighters on the ground are continuting to do burnout operations to the north and west of the fire in order to control the fire's spread. This will expand the size of the fire but at the same time protect firefighters.

For information on air quality, visit Arizona Department of Environmental Quality at: http://phoenixvis.net/ppmmain.aspx

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8:30 a.m. Update: Fire officals will hold a community meeting on the Slide Fire at 4 p.m. today at Sedona Red Rock High School Performing Arts Center, 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Rd.

The fire is located in Oak Creek Canyon just north of Slide Rock State Park and burning northward, up the canyon into places such as West Fork and Harding Point. It has burned approximately 7,500 acres and is 5 percent contained.

Approximately 300 structures, private homes as well vacation resort cabins and a Forest Service lookout tower are threatened by the fire. So far, no structures have burned and no one has been injured.

Officials believe the fire is human caused. The fire started Tuesday afternoon between Slide Rock State Park and the Half Way Picnic Area. Anyone with information on how the fire may have started should call Forest Service Law Enforcement at (928) 527-3511.

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7:30 a.m. update: Hot shot crews battled a few spot fires that jumped the line at Forest Service Road 535 last night. However, firefighters were able to hold their lines and the fire is still contained to Oak Creek Canyon. 

"Those fires landed in an area that was previously thinned in 2006 and were quickly contained," said Captian Bill Morse of the Flagstaff Fire Department.

No structures or campgrounds have been lost and no injuries have been reported becuase of the fire. 

Erratic winds also gave firefighters a hard time overnight, but crews were able to keep the fire to its current 7,500 acres. Additional burnout operations were conducted last night near the upper canyon switchbacks on Highway 89A southward to the Fish Hatchery.

Officials estimate that the fire is about 5 percent contained. Crews are still trying to keep the fire on the west side of Highway 89A. It is still burning northward.

However, officials expect the acerage to grow as fire crews conduct burn outs along Forest Service Road 231 and Foreset Service Road 535 near the northern and western flanks of the fire. Firefighters will continue working in the East Pocket area to the southwest using possible retardant and water drops in the rugged terrain. The idea is to form a "catcher’s mitt’" to contain the fire, Morse said.

If conditions permit, crews may conduct burnouts near Slide Rock State Park to secure the southernmost containment lines.

The public could expect updated figures on containment at the end of the day, Morse said. Becuase of the variablity in fire conditions, the forest service typically waits until the end of the day to give the public an update.

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