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Thousands May Have to Flee as Arizona Wildfire Explodes in Size

Arizona Wild Fire
The Slide Fire burns near 89 A south of Flagstaff, Arizona on May 21, 2014. Tom Tingle—Arizona Republic/AP

The blaze has raised concerns of a devastating wildfire season amid a drought that has left the woods particularly vulnerable.

Authorities in Arizona have warned that thousands of people may have to evacuate their homes on Thursday after a wildfire rapidly expanded near Flagstaff.

Nearly 4,500 acres between Flagstaff and Sedona are now in flames after a wildfire grew roughly 10 times in size over a 24-hour period, AZCentral.com reports. Approximately 500 firefighters are battling the blaze, but erratic winds have grounded fire-fighting aircraft, hampering response efforts.

“Everything’s kind of going against us,” Bob Orrill, a liaison officer for a response team told residents, according to AZCentral.com.

The blaze has raised concerns of a devastating wildfire season amid a drought that has left Arizona’s wooded areas particularly vulnerable. It also comes less than a year after a fire in nearby Prescott killed 19 Hotshot firefighters.

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