Shelter-in-place order issued for parts of Flagstaff; Arizona National Guard to aid in flood recovery

Flagstaff city officials have issued a shelter-in-place order for parts of the northern Arizona city, due to flash flooding expected in the Museum fire Flood zone.

According to a tweet, the areas of Mt. Elden Estates, Paradise, Grandview and Sunnyside are covered by the order.

“Shelter in place now. If you’re outdoors, look for heights now. Don’t enter drains,” reads part of the tweet.

According to Flagstaff city officials, parts of the city have experienced several rounds of flash flooding since the museum fire, which charred 1,961 acres of land in 2019. In 2021, flood turned the streets into raging rivers and filled the houses with water and mud. A video also shows a car floating downstream.

Video taken by Chase Wilson, who lives in the Wupaiki Trails neighborhood, shows floodwaters flowing down areas of burn scars. Wilson’s home was flooded recently, and he said his home flooded again on July 15 and was unlivable.

“I just didn’t expect it to happen like this again,” he said.

Everyone in their neighborhood is cleaning up, and it’s nothing short of a massive undertaking. Entire fences were ripped out of the ground, yards completely destroyed, houses and culvert pipes filled with mud.

“There’s no way I could guess another wildfire would happen in exactly the same way and then heavy monsoons immediately after that,” Wilson said.

In the same community, Greg Valazquez was lucky with his own home this time around, but he rented a tractor to help his neighbors get ready and now clean up.

“We have the ability to clear the road, get emergency vehicles in. There are a lot of people who, if they can’t get out, have health issues, so I want to make sure they can go in and out of their house,” Valazquez said. “Every time it rains you cross your fingers hoping it doesn’t do the same.”

Wilson says he spoke to the county, and was told that because of those burn scars, they could face this kind of problem with the slightest rain for the next five years.

The shelter-in-place order came as the region experienced monsoon weather in recent days, which brought heavy rain and hail to some areas.

On July 15, Coconino County officials confirmed they had made a request to the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs for National Guard assistance in filling the sandbags.

“ADEMA will now review the request,” read part of the brief statement. “We also received state assistance for the production of sandbags through the Arizona Department of Corrections. Arizona Conservation Corps crews also assisted in the production and placement of sandbags for the elderly or disabled.

“Help is on the way”

On July 16, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey deployed National Guard troops to Flagstaff.

“Help is on the way to Coconino County. Our number one priority is to keep our communities safe and get the help they need,” he said. tweeted.

Guard members will help with flood mitigation measures, such as filling sandbags on Saturday. Over the next week, they will assist the Arizona Department of Corrections’ Wildland and Healthy Forest teams.

According” DEMA [Department of Emergency and Military Affairs] is the point of coordination for requests for state resources from the counties. Coconino County on Friday, July 15, requested DEMA’s assistance in filling 600,000 sandbags to deter and block flooding, and the Department immediately responded. This afternoon, 30 members of the National Guard will be deployed as reinforcements. On Sunday, a total of 60 members will be up north to help fill those sandbags. During the week, 40 members will remain to continue the mission.”

A spokesperson said: “This is a top priority for Governor Ducey. We have a community in need, the impact we are seeing is widespread. For Arizona, we needed to act quickly and we did. do.”

View of a thunderstorm cell over Doney Park on July 14. (Deborah Lee Soltesz) (Deborah Lee Soltesz)

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