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Emergency siren system installed in Museum Fire flood area

Melissa Sevigny
A newly installed emergency flood alert siren in the Sunnyside neighborhood in Flagstaff.

A new emergency siren will alert residents of east Flagstaff of imminent flash floods from the Museum Fire scar. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, the system was tested for the first time today.

Four solar-powered sirens will sound when three-quarters of an inch of rain falls on the Museum Fire scar within the span of 15 minutes. A warning plays in both English and Spanish.

The siren is meant to complement emergency alerts by phone, text, and email. Coconino County supervisor Jeronimo Vasquez says residents asked for the siren system after last summer’s devasting floods.

"The community really asked for these sirens," he says. "We had people in the community that don’t have smartphone, that don’t have access to text messaging and emails, and they wanted a way to get an alert system."

Flagstaff Mayor Paul Deasy says the goal is to prevent the loss of life. "That is the number one thing for all of us here, to protect people’s lives and make sure people are safe, but also feel safe."

The 2019 Museum Fire drastically altered the Spruce Wash watershed. City and county engineers are building detention basins and improving channels in the affected neighborhoods. The siren system was funded by the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management.

More information on the siren alerting system is available at

Residents of the Museum Fire flood area who need assistance with sandbags can call the City of Flagstaff’s flood assistance line, 928-213-2102.


Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.