Following fire, Yarnell faces flood - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Following fire, Yarnell faces flood


Dozens of homes lay in ruins on Yarnell Hill, victims of a wildfire that sparked last month.

The threat of fire has diminished but the town of Yarnell faces a new threat: water.

In just a few hours, water gushed through a once dry creek bed. With it, the flash flood carried black ash left behind from the fire.

"The fire is what kick started everything," Karen Patterson said. "All the emotions and properties, gone."

Patterson was one of hundreds evacuated from the town during the wildfire that claimed the lives of 19 firefighters.

"It's one thing after another," she said.

Patterson came back to Yarnell with her home completely intact but now water threatens what's left of the town.

"When we had the big storm [the water] just came in across the street and kept on going," Jane Sanderson said.

Sanderson's garage flooded with water Wednesday night, leaving behind deposits of ash.

"I have these sandbags now," Sanderson said.

Sanderson and several of her neighbors in the low-lying areas stack sandbags to keep the water away from their homes and yards.

"We took a pretty substantial hit," Yavapai County Emergency Management's Denny Foulk said.  "If we would have that for another 15, 20, 30 minutes, we would have seen more substantial flooding."

According to Foulk, more rain also raises the potential for mudslides and, if the storm is severe enough, disastrous flooding.

"We have a threshold we're looking at," Foulk said. "About one inch in a half hour, any more could cause problems."

Residents in the Yarnell area are being asked to clear any debris from potential waterways to reduce the risk of flood.

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