Kachina Village families celebrate gains made by crews working - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Kachina Village families celebrate gains made by crews working Slide Fire

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High atop a balcony in Kachina Village festivities are finally underway at the Arnett house. What several weeks ago was planned as just another Memorial Day cookout evolved into a homecoming.

As flames from the Slide Fire spread, Mary Jane Arnett and her husband Doug packed up their pets and few belongings last week and headed into Flagstaff. On Sunday the couple was happy to be home.

"Seeing the sun and just knowing that we're safe now, I feel so much better," said Mary Jane Arnett.

Just a few miles away, fire crews were having a celebration of their own.

"It feels like we're riding a winning horse here, you know guys? This is going really well," said Slide Fire public information officer Bill Morse.

Morse called Sunday a very successful day.

"All along the north the burnout we're doing is rock solid. We didn't need to drop any water because we weren't fighting fires, we were lighting fires," Morse said.

Morse said the remainder of burnout operations should be completed on Monday. He added, although there is still a good amount of work that needs to be done crews are demobilizing.

Back at the Arnett house family members gathered alongside neighbors, thankful for the men and women who risked their lives to protect their homes.

"Firefighters, bless them, man. They're the best. Without them I don't think I would be here talking to you," said Cesar Cormier.

The evacuation order remains in effect for Oak Creek Canyon. No word yet on when it might be lifted. However, officials told CBS 5 News that APS crews spent the day working to restore power to the area.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.