Slide wildfire in Sedona, Arizona

All photos: Andrew Pielage

Wildfire strikes Arizona wilderness

The craggy slopes of Oak Creek Canyon near Sedona, Arizona are enveloped by smoke and flames from the Slide Wildfire in these photos captured by Phoenix-based photographer Andrew Pielage.

After raging for about a week after it was first reported on May 20, the wildfire is now beginning to diminish, thanks to the work of firefighters. No human casualties have been reported, but it's estimated that more than 20,000 acres of land — nearly 32 square miles — have been scorched by the blaze as of Tuesday.

Oak Creek Canyon, often touted as the smaller cousin of the Grand Canyon, is a river gorge located in the Coconino National Forest, near Red Rock State Park. Famous for its beautiful red sandstone formations, this area is a popular tourist destination for hiking, camping and fishing.

This is the fourth major wildfire that Pielage has photographed in Arizona, and by his account, it has been one of the hardest: "All wildfires are devastating," he tells MNN, "but when one destroys such a beautiful area like Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon, it weighs on you a little bit more."

 
overview of Slide wildfire in Sedona, Arizona
 
hot spot in Slide wildfire in Sedona, Arizona
 
smoke envelopes mountains in Slide wildfire in Sedona, Arizona
 
smoke rises near road running through Slide wildfire in Sedona, Arizona
 
smoke blankets mountains in Slide wildfire in Sedona, Arizona
 
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Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.