Shelter-in-place order issued for parts of Flagstaff; Arizona National Guard to assist with flood recovery

Officials with the City of Flagstaff have issued a shelter-in-place order for parts of the northern Arizona city, due to expected flash flooding in the Museum Fire Flood Area.

According to a tweet, the areas of Mt. Elden Estates, Paradise, Grandview and Sunnyside are covered b the order.

"Shelter in place now. If you are outdoors seek high ground now. Don't enter drainages," read a portion of the tweet.

According to Flagstaff city officials, parts of the city have experienced multiple rounds of flash flooding since the Museum Fire, which charred 1,961 acres of land in 2019. In 2021, flooding turned streets into raging rivers, and filled homes with water and mud. One video also shows a car that floated downstream.

Video taken by Chase Wilson, who lives in the Wupaiki Trails neighborhood, shows floodwaters coming down from the burn scar areas. Wilson's home was flooded recently, and he said his home was flooded once again on July 15 and is unlivable.

"I just didn't expect it to happen again like this," he said.

Everyone in their neighborhood is cleaning up, and it's nothing short of a massive undertaking. Entire fences were ripped free from the ground, yards completely destroyed, houses and culvert pipes packed with mud.

"There's no way I could guess that you'd have another wildfire happen exactly the same way and then heavy monsoons immediately following that," Wilson said.

In the same community, Greg Valazquez got lucky with his own home this time around, but he rented a tractor to help his neighbors prepare and now, clean up.

"We have the ability to clean the road, get emergency vehicles in. There's a lot of people that, if they can't exit, they have health issues, so I want to make sure they can get in and out of their house," Valazquez said. "Every time it rains you kind of cross your fingers and hope that it doesn't do the same thing."

Wilson says he spoke to the county, and he was told because of these burn scars, they could be dealing with this kind of issue with the slightest amount of rain for the next five years.

The shelter-in-place order came as the region experienced monsoon weather in recent days, which brought heavy rain and hail to some areas.

On July 15, Coconino County officials confirm they have made a request to the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs for assistance from the National Guard in filling sandbags.

"ADEMA will now review the request," read a portion of the brief statement. "We have also received assistance from the state with sandbag production through the Arizona Department of Corrections. Arizona Conservation Corps crews have also assisted with sandbag production and placement for those that are elderly or disabled."

"Help is on the way"

On July 16, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey deployed National Guard troops to Flagstaff.

"Help is on the way to Coconino County. Our number one priority is to ensure our communities are safe and getting the help they need," he tweeted.

Guard members will assist with flooding mitigation measures, such as filling sandbags Saturday. Through the following week, they'll assist the Arizona Department of Corrections' Wildland and Healthy Forest crews.

According to, "DEMA [Department of Emergency and Military Affairs] is the coordination point for state resource requests from the counties. Coconino County on Friday, July 15 requested DEMA’s assistance to fill 600,000 sandbags to deter and block flooding, and the Department immediately responded. This afternoon, 30 members of the National Guard will be deployed for assistance. On Sunday, a total of 60 members will be up north assisting in filling these sandbags. During the week, 40 members will stay to continue the mission."

A spokesperson stated, "This is a top priority for Gov. Ducey. We have a community in need, the impact we’re seeing is across the board. For Arizona, we needed to act quickly and we did."

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View of a storm cell over Doney Park on July 14. (Deborah Lee Soltesz) (Deborah Lee Soltesz)