Monsoon moisture is aiding efforts to suppress the Museum Fire burning one mile north of Flagstaff. But city officials warn residents in nearby neighborhoods to prepare for flash floods. More than one hundred thousand sandbags have been distributed to affected areas. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.
Community members pored over updated flood maps at a meeting at Coconino High School last night. Models from City of Flagstaff engineers show the Museum Fire scar may cause flooding in the neighborhoods of Mount Elden Estates, Lockett Ranches, Paradise, Grandview and Sunnyside.
Cesaryo Peña, longtime Sunnyside resident, says "I’ve been sandbagging but according to what I saw in there, the map, I don’t have enough sandbags now. So if it does come, we’re going to get it."
City officials urged residents in the affected areas to purchase flood insurance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA. It must be bought within 60 days of the fire’s containment date, which is not yet declared.
Liz Archuleta, Coconino County supervisor, says, "I’m hoping that everybody will heed our advice to get flood insurance… And then just to be the community that we are, which is neighborhoods helping neighborhoods. If you know somebody who can’t put sandbags up, volunteer to help them."
Residents are asked to call 911 to report flash floods, and to sign up for emergency alerts from Coconino County.
Community members can pick up prefilled sandbags at Coconino High School or go to the self-fill stations at Joe Montalvo Little League Field and Aztec Street near Frances Short Pond.
Flood insurance info: https://www.floodsmart.gov/
National Weather Service’s Museum Fire page: https://www.weather.gov/fgz/MuseumFireFloodRisk
Coconino County emergency alerts: https://coconino.az.gov/ready