Arizona residents evacuate as fierce wildfire rages

The fire began on Tuesday, May 20, and was likely caused by a person, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The fire began on Tuesday, May 20, and was likely caused by a person, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Near Flagstaff, Arizona (CNN) — As one of hundreds of evacuees in Arizona’s raging wildfire, Serena Chesmore valued family over home.

She ensured the safety of the most precious things in the world: her family and pets.

Her house in Kachina Village, after all, is replaceable, Chesmore said Friday.

“The kids, the pets, the photos — they can’t be replaced,” Chesmore said.

Chesmore is hoping, nonetheless, that 960 firefighters will be able to save her house and 300 other homes and businesses from an Arizona forest fire roaring through park land. She made an early jump on a pre-evacuation notice given to about 3,200 residents in Coconino County.

The online Incident Information System reported Friday night that much of the fire burned with lower intensity throughout the day, allowing firefighters to make some progress.

However, despite that progress, the total area scorched climbed to 8,500 acres that night, and the containment level held steady at 5%.

The equivalent of a battalion of firefighters, including 15 hotshot crews and three air tankers, have been fighting the fire between Flagstaff and Sedona — a tourist and retirement destination famed for its red rock formations — since Tuesday afternoon.

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