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A $3.5M project has begun to reduce sediment flows in the Museum Fire burn area

The Museum Fire burned nearly 2,000 acres in the Dry Lake Hills north of Flagstaff in 2019. Last summer, flooding from the burn area damaged dozens of homes and caused $1.5 million in damage to private property.

Work crews in the Museum Fire burn area north of Flagstaff are working to shore up flood mitigation measures ahead of this year’s monsoon season. One project that recently began is designed to reduce the amount of sediment moved by rainfall.

The $3.5 million project began late last month and aims to stabilize and restore parts of the Spruce Wash Watershed damaged in the 2019 wildfire. The goal is to prevent monsoon rain from transporting sediment into the neighborhoods below where it prevents infrastructure from diverting floodwaters.

Crews will use rocks, logs and other natural materials to slow down water and help separate out the sediment. Officials say it’ll also expedite the forest’s healing process from the fire. The project is being funded by the U-S Forest Service and work is expected to be completed this fall.

It’s among several efforts underway to decrease flooding caused by the Museum Fire including drainage improvements and the stabilization of alluvial fans to reduce flooding, erosion and sediment flows.

The Museum Fire burned almost 2,000 acres in the Dry Lake Hills north of Flagstaff three years ago. Last summer, flooding damaged 50 homes and caused a $1.5 million in damage to private property.

Ryan Heinsius was named interim news director and managing editor in January 2024. He joined KNAU's newsroom as an executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.