Residents increasingly worried, tense over Slide Fire - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Residents increasingly worried, tense over Slide Fire evacuation prospects

A community meeting packed with about 300 people felt tense at times as residents fear the worst with evacuations.
"There's a lot of uncertainty, people don't know," said Kachina Village resident Peter Snell. "There's one road in, one road out, and you've got 3,000 people."

"I do a bird show at the arboretum at Flagstaff and from what I have heard the fire is just five or so miles away from there," said Alyssa Collins.

Most of the people in attendance were from Kachina Village, which was told to prepare to evacuate, but hasn't been given the official notice yet.

"I have 30 big animals that I need to get out in time and I just want to make sure that code red will give me enough time to evacuate my animals," Collins said.

"Should the fire push on the east side of highway 89A, we're predicting about 4.5 hours from the time it crosses to the time it would hit Kachina Village," said Danny Montoya, who is in charge of the boots on the ground. He said this fire is the top priority in the country right now. They've got 20 hot shot crews, 10 Type II crews, 5 state crews, 50 engines, 10 water tankers, and nearly 10 helicopters working to put the fire out.

But the upcoming forecast could prove difficult.

"If you have a thunderstorm sitting right over the fire it could push the fire in all directions," Montoya said.

Residents wonder how they can prevent their backyards from being in danger again. Many asked for public forest restrictions.

"I think it should enforced a lot more," Snell said. "People in the community have a lot of awareness, it's a lot of people out of town [that don't]."

"I think the fire experts are the ones that have to make that call," Collins said.

Crews will work into the night, when they said conditions are better because of the lower winds and higher humidity.

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