Flash Flood Precautions
GILA COUNTY - Monsoon rains on recent wildland fire burn areas could affect communities downhill and downstream. Severely burned soils can be as water repellent as pavement, causing even short periods of moderate rainfall to runoff extremely quickly, moving large amounts of ash, sand, silt, rocks and vegetation potentially causing severe damage to roadways, culverts, and buildings and creating a threat to life safety.
Thunderstorms over a burn area can produce severe flash flooding even before the National Weather Service can detect the rainfall. DO NOT WAIT FOR A FLASH FLOOD WARNING before taking safety precautions. Flash flooding and debris flows could affect communities only 5 to 10 minutes after heavy rains begin.
If you live near, or are traveling in, a wildland fire burn area, stay aware of changing weather conditions and be prepared to take safety precautions quickly.
· Keep the fuel tank in your car full
· Pack your car with extra clothes, prescriptions, pictures, important papers.
· Keep an extra cell phone charger in your car
· Do not cross flooded roadways-the road may damaged-flood waters are faster and deeper than they look.
It is important that homeowners near a recent burn area consider purchasing flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program as soon as possible. Standard homeowners insurance will not cover damages caused by flash flooding. Contact your insurance carrier for more information.
Log on to the Arizona Emergency Information Network at www.azein.gov where you can view statewide emergency bulletins, preparedness information or signup for social network alerts, such as Facebook or Twitter.
For local emergency information call the Gila County Emergency HOTLINE:
800-304-4452 extension 8888 or 928-402-8888