Crews manning fire engines spread out throughout the area to defend the homes, fire officials said. There were no reports late Sunday of any homes being damaged or destroyed but the potential existed for that.
The fire burned Sunday on a mesa just above Oak Creek Canyon, more than 90 miles (145 kilometers) north of Phoenix. Crews were concerned that downslope winds, which can be common at night, could push the fire into the canyon, said Raquel Romero, another fire spokeswoman. She classified the threat to the homes as "very serious."
Brenda Grey, a spokeswoman for Coconino County, said Oak Creek Canyon contains a mix of homes, including upscale houses and mobile home parks. She said it also contains hotels, resorts and stores that are scattered throughout the canyon, according to the AP.
The fast-moving fire ignited Sunday afternoon in a wooded area and quickly led to the evacuations of about 180 homes in five Sedona subdivisions and Oak Creek Canyon, a popular scenic area in Coconino County between Sedona and Flagstaff. The fire's cause was unknown, although authorities said there was no lightning Sunday.
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