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Coconino County Flood Control Officials Say A Large Wildfire On The Peaks, Coupled With Flooding Could Cause Billions In Damage

photo courtesy of the Coconino National Forest

The Coconino County Flood Control District will present two studies to the Coconino County Board of Supervisors at their meeting Tuesday. The studies take a look at scenarios for rain on hypothetical burn areas on mostly the west side of the San Francisco Peaks. The JE Fuller study found for a 100-year, six-hour storm event, the Rio de Flag could grow three-to-six times the capacity through downtown Flagstaff and 31 times the size in the Fort Valley area. The Northern Arizona University study took a look at possible economic losses from those scenarios. The NAU study showed a “low-risk scenario,” or a small fire on the Peaks, with a one-time Monsoon rain event could cost over 535-million dollars in damages. A “high-case scenario,” which would be a larger wildfire, with high Monsoon rains, could cause damages of nearly three-billion dollars. Right now, the Upper Rio de Flag watershed is considered a high risk for a catastrophic wildfire, with the Rio itself is at high risk for severe and repetitive post-wildfire flooding. County officials these studies will help prioritize future forest thinning and restoration work.

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