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Coconino County threatened with floods faces national competition for federal help

Coconino County officials warned residents that they’re competing for federal funds with other disaster-affected communities throughout the U.S. as flooding continues to threaten Flagstaff.

Coconino County’s flood district officials painted a grim picture of what folks in Flagstaff have faced so far.

1,500 homes have been impacted by at least 19 major flood events. Badly burned steep faces of neighboring mountains have sparked more than 70 flash flood warnings.

Lucinda Andreani, the county’s flood control district administrator, pointed to the damage on one specific property.

"This is the most significant interior flooding we’ve seen. It did sustain 2 to 3 feet of interior flooding in the home. You know, it’s uninhabitable," she told the board of supervisors.

Some of the mitigation projects designed to slow flooding from a 2010 fire are now overwhelmed. 

"We can’t keep doing this year after year. We’ve got to put some time and effort and money into basically the forest management and forest thinning so we do not keep repeating this vicious cycle over and over again," said Supervisor Patrice Horstman. 

The county has spent $4 million moving sediment, buying barricades to protect homes and building channels to keep water moving.

County officials declared a new emergency to ask for more help from flooding. And warned residents to prepare emergency kits to survive for at least three days.

 

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.