(Flagstaff, Ariz.) January 7, 2015 – On May 20, 2014, the largest fire in the history of the Coconino National Forest ignited in Sedona’s Oak Creek Canyon, one of the most scenic places on earth. As flames spread through the forested hills, fire crews battled day and night to contain the blaze and minimize damage to the forest. The Museum of Northern Arizona’s (MNA) next exhibition, The Slide Fire Story: A Tribute to Oak Creek Canyon, will present more than 100 hauntingly beautiful images, depicting the fire’s dramatic race up the Canyon and the efforts of over 1200 firefighters to halt its fury. The exhibition, opening Saturday, January 17, will be on view through May 25, 2015 and is included with museum admission.
Before the last flame was extinguished, the Rotary Clubs of Sedona were working on a photographic exhibit to honor the firefighters and support post-recovery efforts. The Clubs believed that the community needed to have an opportunity to celebrate the work of the firefighters and come to terms with risks underscored by the Slide Fire. More than 500 images were submitted by 60 different photographers across the United States. The collection includes images from before, during, and after the fire and show the perspective from the fire-line and the forest, hot air balloons, planes and gliders, and from vistas of two communities most impacted by the fire – Flagstaff and Sedona. The majority of photographs were taken by firefighters. The exhibition was initially mounted at the Sedona Arts Center in July 2014.
“Everyone needs to see these images and appreciate the importance of protecting the Canyon,” said Lynette Jennings, the exhibition’s curator. After Jennings saw the submitted images, she was taken aback by their impact. “The incredible story of the firefight and the significance to our community just came together.”
“The Slide Fire exhibition gives a close up view of the fire, its progress, and its effects on Oak Creek Canyon,” said Dr. Robert Breunig, MNA President. It is a story of courage and human determination in the face of a fast-moving fire. The exhibition is a graphic reminder of what is at stake if we do not address the twin issues – forest health and climate change.”
The Museum of Northern Arizona is located at 3101 N. Fort Valley Road in Flagstaff, Ariz. Admission is $10 adult, $9 senior (65+), $7 student, and $6 youth. Children 9 and under are free.
To learn more, visit musnaz.org or call 928.774.5213.