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Oak Creek Canyon fire at 75 percent containment

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 30, 2014 at 5:28 pm •  Published: May 30, 2014
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SEDONA, Ariz. (AP) — The fire still smoldering in and around northern Arizona's Oak Creek Canyon now is 75 percent contained, but use of Highway 89A was restricted Friday as utility crews moved poles and worked to restore electricity in the affected area.

Crews were working along the Slide Fire's perimeter while interior areas of the fire continued to smolder.

The 33.1-square-mile Slide Fire began May 20 near Slide Rock State Park in the scenic canyon between Sedona and Flagstaff and about 300 residents and business owners had to evacuate.

Authorities said the fire is believed to be human caused and remains under investigation.

The cost of fighting the fire is estimated at $8 million.

An evacuation order for canyon residents and business owners was lifted Thursday and many people began heading back to their property.

About 300 residents and business owners had to evacuate days after the fire broke.

Coconino County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Erika Wiltenmuth said that if residents don't find significant damage and want to remain in their homes, they are free to do so. But they cannot go onto forested areas, which authorities have declared off-limits.

Electricity was expected to be restored to all homes in the affected fire area by late Friday afternoon.

About 150 Arizona Public Service employees have been working to bring back power. So far, about 90 of 236 Oak Creek Canyon customers have been reconnected to electricity, utility officials said.