/ Modified may 27, 2014 1:03 p.m.

UPDATE: Northern AZ Blaze Grows in Size, Containment at 35%

Firefighter crews are expecting strong winds tomorrow, but say worst is behind them; they've burn a ring all the way around fire to contain.

Story by Laurel Morales


A week after it began, the Slide Fire has burned 18,500 acres in northern Arizona and is now 35 percent contained. Firefighters are expecting strong winds Wednesday, but they say the worst is behind them.

Crews have burnt a ring all the way around the fire, said Flagstaff Fire Captain Bill Morse.

In some places, that ring is a half mile wide. And at the head of the fire in the northwest corner, he said that line is a mile wide as well.

"We’ve got it we’ve got a really solid line burnt well in from the perimeter. Now it’s a matter of really cooling that, mopping it up..." he said.

Morse said after anticipated strong winds test that line in the next day or so, authorities will be able to call it contained.

He and many other firefighters in the region have been preparing for fire in Northern Arizona’s Oak Creek Canyon for a long time.

"For 15 years every firefighter in this region has played this exact scenario through in our heads a thousand times, and never once did any of us in any of those in those scenarios picture zero loss of structures, zero loss of lives and being able to stop that fire before it got going further," he said.

Morse said thinning and prescribed burns have kept this fire from becoming catastrophic.

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