ORO VALLEY, Ariz. (AP) - Authorities are trying to rescue around 300 campers stranded at a park near Tucson due to flooding from recent rain storms.
Rangers at Catalina State Park said they hoped to have all of the campers out by the evening of Jan. 18.
The park, located about 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) north of Tucson, has been closed since Monday morning after rains caused a wash to flood. The Big Horn Fire in 2020 reportedly took out a lot of vegetation that would normally keep rainwater runoff in check. The fire, however, caused the wash below to flood.
Authorities said water, mud and sand are so deep at the park’s campground that even lifted trucks and vehicles with four-wheel drive can’t get through. The park's setup means the entrance, parking and trail access is on one side of the road, and the campground is on the other side.
"Our park rangers are there on site," said Michelle Thompson with Arizona State Parks & Trails. "If there were any medical emergencies, or if anyone ran out of supplies or anything like that, those would all be able to get from our park rangers, or from the camp hosts that are at the campground with them."
Cisco Gonzalez is among those trapped at the park. It was Gonzalez's first trip to the state park, and after what happened, it may be his last.
"Part of me was like, ‘ooh, I’d like to show our daughter this place some day,' and now, I’m like if they don’t have a bridge when we come back, definitely going to take a pass," said Gonzalez.
Park rangers said the flooding happens regularly, especially during the summer monsoon season.
There are plans and a budget to build a bridge over the wash in the coming years so flooding won’t continue to be a common occurrence.
The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.
About 300 campers are reportedly trapped at a flooded campground in Southern Arizona that has been closed since Jan. 16.