Residents in Flagstaff brace for potential flooding

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (FOX 10) - "What you're seeing behind me is a community coming together," JB Dewitt said.

Volunteers have been shoveling sand into bags at stations around Flagstaff for hours in hopes of mitigating potential flood damage.

"What we're doing is trying to get people down here to volunteer to help those who can't get down here to get the bags themselves," Dewitt said.

JB Dewitt, volunteer coordinator at the Sunnyside Neighborhood location, says the greatest concern is just not knowing what to expect in the coming days.

"I think this neighborhood is most concerned that the projection is true and the massive amount of flooding that they expect to happen is going to happen in this neighborhood," he said.

Skeeter Roustan says he took the day off of work to come to offer help for those who can't do it themselves.

"Eventually, go back up to the house, unload the sandbags and try to get enough for me and [a] few of my neighbors and see what happens," he said.

Although the group is hoping for the best but preparing for the worst, the strong sense of community during tough times is comforting to all.

"They're here [at] 8 in the morning sweating already, making bags just to help somebody else out now, it has nothing to do with themselves," Dewitt said.

At a public meeting Wednesday night in Flagstaff, questions were raised as to how city and county crews will combat a flood. The answer is "experience"

, with Coconino County Public Works Director Lucinda Andreani telling people of Flagstaff how the Schultz Fire in 2010 and Slide Fire in 2014 helped prepare them for this.

"Our ability now to understand what's going on in this watershed and analyze that and understand what the risks are -- it's not an exaggeration, it's light years beyond where we all began with Schultz," said Andreani.

The community also got to hear from the county's engineer on mitigation plans, and found out which areas would see an enhanced flood threat because of the Museum Fire scar impacting Elden Lookout Road into Flagstaff to east of Buffalo Park to Route 66.

Residents like Jacque Gencarelle are making a checklist.

"To make sure that myself and my kids have a go plan. We have our go bags ready, even though we are not in the area," said Gencarelle. "Making sure we have a little checklist of things to go, of things that we need."

Officials say the typical nature of post-fire rainfall events are five to ten times greater than pre-fire condition.

Flagstaff sandbag locations
Joe Montalvo Little League Park
Aztec Street, near Frances Short Pond
Coconino HS