(SOURCE) Thousands of people may be forced to evacuate their homes in northern Arizona on Thursday after a wildfire exploded in size and increased tenfold in the space of 24 hours.
Some 300 households have already been forced to leave the picturesque and heavily wooded Oak Creek Canyon, between the cities of Flagstaff and Sedona, after the Slide Fire grew to 4,500 acres by late Wednesday.
“Everything’s kind of going against us,” said Bob Orrill, an officer for the “Type 1” federal incident management team drafted in to battle the fire. He made the comments to azcentral.com.
In a statement released 4 p.m. local time (6 p.m. ET), forest officials warned that more than 3,000 residents in Kachina Village and Forest Highlands may be the next.
The Coconino National Forest authority said it was encouraging affected neighborhoods to “begin packing important items they may need for several days. These items include prescriptions, important papers, any special dietary needs and pets.”