Flagstaff braces for more flash flooding; burn scars from 2019 wildfire contributing to flooding problems

July 14 marks the second day the Flagstaff area had to deal with flooding.

Much of the area is where the Museum Fire burned two years ago, and burn scar left by the fire in 2019 is causing major problems during this monsoon season.

As there is no vegetation to soap up the rain, floodwater is rushing downhill.

A video captured by an Arizona Daily Sun reporter gives a stunning look at what heavy rains over a burn scar can create.

The video shows a moving mass of debris that came flowing from Mount Elden toward several Flagstaff neighborhoods during the afternoon hours of July 13. In 15 minutes, more than an inch of rain had fallen on the area burned by the Museum Fire.

In another video, a Toyota Prius was seen being washed away by a swift rush of water in the area of the Upper Greenlaw Estates.

People living near the Museum Fire burn area are being told to shelter in place, or seek higher ground. One video taken Wednesday afternoon shows major flooding at Route 66 and Highway 89.

Meanwhile, storm cleanup efforts are underway.

"We still have some people who are cleaning up some debris," said Taylor Landy. "We didn't expect it to hit our street, and so it was kind of just started going down and then next thing, you know, within 30 seconds, it was a crazy flash flood."

Flagstaff Fire Engineer Paramedic Josh Crane says he knows people are trying to capture images of what is happening, but that can be dangerous.

"These flood waters come down fast and wide. You may not see the fast, and you may not be seeing the full strength of the flood while you're videoing," said Crane.

Flagstaff braces for more rainfall and potential flooding

Much of Flagstaff is a mess, with mud, debris and pine cones everywhere.

Meanwhile, the city is bracing for more rain. On July 15, the city saw mostly cloudy skies, and even some overcast skies for much of the day, with a few sprinkles and showers here and there.

As the city braces for more potential flooding, a great wall of sandbags guards Grandview Drive in the northeast area of the city. It is the only way standing in between homes in the area, and heartache.

"Lots of sandbag. A lot of moving. I think it’s good together and support one another," said resident Kari Watson.

"Sitting there watching our house just fine while everyone else is having a hard time just didn’t seem right, so I came down to see what I could do," said resident Kari Sherry.

Residence knew the floods would come at some point following the wildfire in the area, but some still hoped it wouldn't.

"We’ve had enough to next to nothing for monsoon in the past two years and then hang up on the mountain, so everything is washing down all at once," said one resident, identified only as ‘Tim.'

Several residents, meanwhile, say it's just too dangerous to stay in their homes, and they are ready to get out at a moments notice when the rain starts to fall.

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