SEDONA, AZ - The Coconino National Forest issued an emergency closure Sunday afternoon on all National Forest System lands within the area of the Slide Fire on the Coconino National Forest, in Coconino and Yavapai Counties.
According to the announcement, this is standard firefighting operations procedure to protect the public from areas still active with fire, allowing firefighters to continue to do their work and keep them safe.
Crews battling a wildfire in northern Arizona are hopeful that favorable weather conditions will continue and allow crews to work to prevent the fire from spreading.
This area, road, and trail closure only affects National Forest System land, roads, and trails within the closure area on the Coconino National Forest. The closure does not affect any private, state, county, or other Non-National Forest System lands within the closure boundary, states a news release.
Gerry Perry, spokesman for Incident Command, said officials are "cautiously optimistic" that crews will be able to continue clean-up and burnout operations to get a handle on the fire.
Perry said to date no structures have been damaged or burned since the Slide Fire started Tuesday, May 20, just miles north of Sedona. He did say that there have been reports of minor injuries to firefighters, but did not elaborate.
The Slide Fire has burned a total of 18,500 acres as of 6 p.m. Monday, but was upgraded to 35 percent containment.
Dillon Winicki, another spokesman for Incident Command, said residents may continue to see increases in smoke as fire crews continue burnout operations in Oak Creek Canyon.
He said these burnout operations help decrease fire intensity and create a buffer from the main body of the fire. He also said the fire has not spread and further north or west.
"We're actually in a really good place today," he said.
Pre-evacuation orders for residents in Kachina Village and Forest Highlands were lifted at noon on Monday, officials announced.
There are approximately 1,236 personal assigned to the Slide Fire.