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Prepared Lodge Owner Saved Historic Property From Slide Fire

(Courtesy of Garland's Oak Creek Lodge via Facebook)
The Garland's Oak Creek Lodge in March 2014. It was saved from the Slide Fire.

Fire crews and a few volunteers from the community have kept flames from the Slide Fire from reaching 300 structures in Northern Arizona’s Oak Creek Canyon. But residents and businesses are still reeling from the impact of the blaze.

Mary Garland and her husband have owned the historic Garland’s Lodge in Oak Creek Canyon for more than four decades. She was allowed back for a brief visit.

"I think I was so overjoyed the lodge was saved I had not quite imagined the devastation that I saw to the canyon walls. There are still some surviving trees but for the most part what you see is gray ash," Garland said.

The lodge and 16 cabins are secluded behind lush gardens and an orchard. Garland says much of their property remains unscorched thanks in large part to her husband.

Gary Garland, a volunteer firefighter for years, had long planned for this day.

"He had stockpiled hose, equipment and had a strategy in mind at all times. So he really was prepared to help," Mary Garland said.

Flagstaff Fire Captain Bill Morse said the fire was going to burn the property, "there was no way around it."

"They really prepared the property quite well. Crews were able to take a stand up on that property deploy hose lines and actually hold the fire front off of that building," Morse said.

Even so, over the Memorial Day weekend firefighters are wary of potential dry lightning and erratic winds.

Laurel Morales was a Fronteras Desk reporter in Flagstaff from 2011 to 2020.