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$8.5M Set for Flagstaff Fire Zone Flood Control

By Cyndy Cole for Arizona Daily Sun

Original headline: Flood Plans OK’d

Rick Peace moves a log out of a drainage ditch during massive floods in 2010 that hit
neighborhoods that were in the shadow of the Schultz fire. Drainage ditches were plugged
with boulders and other debris during he floods.
Photo Credit: Josh Biggs/Arizona Daily Sun

Residents living near the Schultz fire saw roads wash out, about 85 homes flood and 12-year-old Shaelyn Sarah Wilson fall into a nearby wash and drown on July 20, 2010.

Nearly two inches of rain had fallen in less than an hour on the 15,000 acres burned in the Schultz fire, uphill of the homes.

From Timberline all the way to Doney Park, some had mud 6 inches deep in their kitchens, garages and living rooms; a couple of homes were hit with such force that they were ruined.

Installation of sandbags and concrete barriers followed.

This past week, though, the Coconino National Forest signed plans to allow Coconino County and engineers to start work on the forest to improve the drainages.

After that, canals will be built in residential neighborhoods west of Highway 89.

The main idea is to use $8.5 million in county and federal money to widen out chutes sending water into the neighborhoods, to make the water a little slower and give it less rock and mud to carry toward the homes.

Wupatki Trails (farthest north) could see work this fall, along with two other neighborhoods where neighbors are most agreeable to these ideas.

County plans are for these three to have better drainage in place before the 2013 monsoon to handle up to moderate flooding.

Six other neighborhoods where residents have been less willing to allow surveyors to have a look around or dislike what is proposed are farther down the priority list.

That means that one resident in a sequence of 20 or 40 properties could block construction of the canals and wide, grassy basins intended to minimize risk for everyone, by not granting easements.

The idea there is to flatten out deep, narrow ravines in the forest, allowing them to leave rocks and sand upstream of the neighborhood in the forest, then send the water close to Highway 89.

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