Slide Fire Costs Approaching $10 Million

The total tab for fighting the human-caused wildfire near Sedona is nearly $10 million.

According to information released this morning by the Forest Service, the cost is at $9.9 million and counting, now more than two weeks after the fire started.

See also:
-10 Worst Wildfires in Modern Arizona History
-Earlier: Slide Fire in Sedona's Oak Creek Canyon Keeps Growing (Video)

The fire remains at 92 percent containment, although the Forest Service doesn't expect the blaze to spread outside of the perimeter. The size of the fire has been virtually unchanged over the last few days, at around 21,200 acres.

There are still around 145 people fighting the fire, and there's still no word on the investigation into the cause of the fire.

Authorities have said it's human-caused, and have put out calls seeking the public's help in identifying the origin of the fire, or even anyone they saw at Slide Rock State Park that day who looked suspicious.

The penalties for negligently causing a wildfire vary. In 2013, Peoria resident Bryan Teague was ordered to pay $5,000 for causing the Tonto Fire after tossing a propane tank into a campfire. That fire was about one-quarter the size of the Slide Fire, and government prosecutors recommended Teague serve time in prison, and pay nearly $500,000 in restitution.

Two cousins who accidentally started the Wallow Fire, Arizona's largest wildfire, were ordered to pay nearly $4 million in restitution.

Meanwhile, although the Slide Fire is mostly contained, and not expected to spread, there are still closures. Part of State Route 89A between Sedona and Flagstaff remains closed, as it has been for more than two weeks now. Forest lands around the fire remain closed, too.

In addition to fire-fighting crews, there's also a Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team at the site, which is a team of scientists that deal with several aspects of the effects of the fire, and are required to respond to fires larger than 500 acres.

"BAER aims to prescribe and implement emergency treatments on federal land to minimize threats to life or property resulting from the effects of a fire, and to stabilize and prevent unacceptable degradation to natural and cultural resources," according to a Forest Service explanation.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley