It’s 3:30 a.m. in Camp Verde, Arizona, and I am sitting at my computer worrying about Oak Creek Canyon. I looked outside this morning and did not see the ominous glow that is indicative of forest fires in the distance. I truly hope that is a good omen.
As the day unfolds, there is little doubt I will become aware of what is really happening in the canyon. My friend Hoppy and I are going north on Interstate 17 to Schnebly Hill Road and head west on the dirt road until we can see Oak Creek Canyon from the rim above Sedona.
The red rocks of Sedona and the canyon mean more to us than just beauty. We have history with the area – mine started in 1962 when there were few houses and Sedona consisted of uptown with wood hitching rails and sidewalks. Curio shops and restaurants were few and Slide Rock was not a state park. We used to jam our cars anywhere along the road and hike down to Oak Creek for some water sliding fun in the sun.
I hated to see old Sedona turn into a tourist haven and the resting place of giant custom homes, but I was in construction and I did play a part in the never-ending expansion of the area. That all ended with the super recession of 2008. I retired and started writing murder mysteries…many contractors left the area. Some construction has resumed, but nothing like in the past. I am sure that this fire will have a negative impact on the financial and natural environment of the whole area.
One does not comprehend the complexity of what has happened in Oak Creek Canyon in the last twenty years. When you drive up the canyon, most of what you see is small cabins, resorts and even trailers. Back beyond the tree line there are huge custom homes built in such a way as to be hidden from view. I have known for years that a fire in the canyon could be catastrophic to property and life. It has finally happened and now all we can do is pray for a miracle because it is too precious to lose for any reason. We know the firefighters are doing everything they can to save Oak Creek Canyon.
I’m just saying,