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Gov. Ducey signs Declaration of Emergency to address flash flooding in Coconino County

Pipeline burn scar.png
Posted at 5:47 PM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-21 23:14:08-04

FLAGSTAFF, AZ — Governor Doug Ducey has signed a Declaration of Emergency for Coconino County after flash flooding hit the Pipeline burn scars twice last week. County officials requested Ducey sign a Declaration of Emergency earlier this week.

The declaration will free up state resources and funds to help the county recover from the floods.

The county has already spent at least $2 million on mitigation and response on flooding.

Just over a month ago, Ducey issued an emergency declaration over devastation from the Pipeline and Haywire fires.

Last week, flash floods came down the Pipeline burn scars and sent debris flow into homes in the southern part of Doney Park. Coconino County officials are estimating that area will also need at least 200,000 sandbags as well.

In total, the county will need around 800,000 more sandbags to meet the demand for homeowners.

On Monday, Lucinda Andreani with Coconino County said they estimate they will need at least 200-250 people for eight hours a day over at least five to six days to fill all the bags. “We’ve been communicating this to the state, they did add another 100 inmates that are producing bags at the Kingman prison,” she said.

ABC15 asked Andreani what is being done to meet demand, “it’s not enough, we're communicating to the state that we need more resources,” said Andreani.

Off Treadway Trail, at least a foot of mud surrounds Lindsay Sampson’s home after flash flooding sent mud and sediment down the burn scars, “I don’t even know where to start,” she said.

Drone footage shows the amount of mud that needs to be removed from her property as it has covered the only roadway into her house, taken out fences, and took over her porch.

The mud also raised her yard by about a foot, so she worries that another rain event will send debris flowing into her home.

Sampson is overwhelmed with how to remove the sediment by herself, “fortunately my parents are here we rented a Bobcat to help push some dirt around a little bit today,” she said.

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 around one million sandbags across the eastern part of the county.

ABC15 has been reporting on the need for more sandbags for weeks, but the estimate has slowly gone up as more properties are being identified at risk.

ABC15 asked Coconino County what took so long to ask for assistance with sandbags:

“You need to ask the Department of Emergency Management. We’ve been making requests as I indicated for over two weeks, we got a response Friday,” said Andreani.

In an email to ABC15, a spokesperson for DEMA replied that they fulfilled the request once it was requested: We received the resource request from Coconino County on Friday afternoon. We immediately began processing the formal request to identify the most appropriate resources to assist the community. Within just over 24 hours, we were able to rapidly pivot National Guard resources to support the request.

The email went on to say, We will continue to work with Coconino County to support the needs of the community.

Governor Doug Ducey activated the Arizona National Guard on Friday, with resources responding over the weekend.

So far, 30 guard members are working to fill sandbags, with more expected.