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Flash flooding down Pipeline fire burn scars floods homes in Flagstaff area

Half a million sandbags are needed in eastern part of Coconino County
Posted at 7:23 PM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 22:40:18-04

FLAGSTAFF, AZ — Flash flooding down the Pipeline burn scars flooded at least two homes in Coconino County over the weekend, as officials work to get as many sandbags in place as needed.

Coconino County has posted online maps with detailed recommendations for each home at risk, including sandbag wall dimensions, placement and estimated number of bags to use. They say in total they will need at least half a million sandbags across the eastern part of the county.

Some homeowners are being told to put hundreds to thousands of sandbags up — in South Fernwood area, the county is recommending some properties along E. Last Chance Rd. place 1,460 sandbags, whether others told 1,300.

In the Heppel Drive/Switchback Trail area, some homeowners are being told they will need approximately 3,000 sandbags total.

Sherry Whitehair, a single mother of three kids, says she worries about the 1,800 bags she needs around her house.

“I have a special needs child, and they expect me to fill over 1,800 hundred sandbags and put them four feet high, in my property," Whitehair said.

When flood waters came on Sunday down the Pipeline burn scars, at least two homes flooded.

Coconino County officials say one elderly resident had to be taken to safety because of the floodwaters.

Chase Wilson wasn’t home when feet of water and mud made it inside his home.

"You just don’t feel like it’s your house anymore,” he said, “you don’t feel like it’s home.”

Wilson, with the help of family, church members and friends were gutting the inside of his home to remove the wet drywall.

He tells ABC15, like advised by officials, he tried to get flood insurance after the fire, but was told by an agency that he wasn’t in a flood zone. He followed up with the insurance company to tell them that he flooded, and was in need of that policy.

Wilson also learned just days ago by the county he would need 1,800 sandbags around his property — but that information wasn’t quick enough as he only had a couple dozen laid by Sunday’s monsoon storm that hit.

By Monday around noon, ABC15 saw the county starting to bring in pallets of sandbags into the Wuptaki community, however nearby area homeowners have been told they can use the self-fill stations.

A spokesperson for Coconino County said they plan to add suggested mitigation to homeowners in the Doney Park area soon.

When it comes to the number of sandbags needed, ABC15 asked the county what is being done to help these homeowners, in an email, a spokesperson wrote, “The Flood Control District has mobilized all available resources and partnered with multiple organizations who are providing volunteer labor to ensure our community’s needs are met. These organizations include 15 Arizona Conservation Corps groups, Arizona Conservation experience volunteers, Arizona Department of Fire and Forest Management, County Department of Corrections, and the United Way.”

An ABC15 viewer asked if the National Guard is able to assist in filling sandbags, but the county has said they have not made a request for state or federal assistance.

Along with using sandbags and jersey barriers for mitigation, the Coconino Flood Control District said they have ordered a supply of inflatable water barriers known as Tiger Dams.

Parts of Coconino County not the only ones at risk, as the west side of Flagstaff is also being warned about the threat of flooding down the burn scars.

Some homes have been advised to purchase flood insurance as soon as possiblein the area.

If you need help purchasing a flood coverage policy, there are a few resources to know about:

  • National Flood Insurance Program: If your insurance agent is not aware of the procedures for selling flood insurance policies, contact NFIP at 1-877-336-2627 for a referral.
  • Find a local insurance agent at
  • Check if your home is in a floodplain by entering your address on this FEMA website.