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Sun, Sept. 26

Storm floods Museum Fire Burn Scar in Flagstaff, rainfall equal to 200 to 500 year event

Flooding seen in late July in Flagstaff as a result of runoff from the Museum Fire Burn Scar. (Photo/Coconino County)

Flooding seen in late July in Flagstaff as a result of runoff from the Museum Fire Burn Scar. (Photo/Coconino County)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — At approximately 12:15 p.m. today, rain began to fall over the Museum Fire Burn Scar. By the time the large storm system moved out of the area, the entire burn area was saturated, resulting in the largest rainfall event to-date.

Gauges located throughout the burn scar recorded hourly rainfall as follows: 3.07 inches in south gauge, 2.4 inches in western gauge, 1.5 inches in the eastern gauge, .75 inches at northern gauge. In addition, the rainfall was intense with over 1.14 inches recorded in at the south and west gauges in 15 minutes and 1.06 inches recorded at the east gauge.

Not only was significant rainfall experienced on the burn scar itself, but also in the Sunnyside neighborhood. In an hour, 1.22 inches fell at Linda Vista and 1.5 inches was recorded downstream in neighborhoods.

The rainfall recorded at the south gauge equates to a 200 to 500 year rainfall event.

The rainfall over the entirety of the burn scar, combined with the significant rainfall in the neighborhood, resulted in flooding that closed roads and overtopped mitigation. Significant debris was seen in the storm water given that a large area of the burn scar had not previously experienced heavy rainfall.

Coconino County Flood Control District and the city of Flagstaff have mobilized all resources and will begin cleanup operations as soon as the water recedes.

As a reminder to residents:

STEP BACK: Today, residents were seen observing the flash flood flows very close to the water.

This is extremely dangerous. There can be surges in flows, which can easily sweep people, particularly children off their feet. Do not get close to the flood water.

DEBRIS ON PROPERTY: If you have debris on your property, then you should move the debris to the street if you are able. This will help County and City Public Works crews sweep the debris with their heavy equipment. If you need assistance with debris removal, then contact the Call Center. The City will work with United Way to mobilize volunteers.

SANDBAGS: Pre-filled sandbags are available at the north side of Cal Ranch.

PARKED CARS: If you live on one of the streets that has debris as a result of the flood, then please do not park your car on the streets. Parked cars on these streets prevent the sandbags from doing their job—protecting your property.

MORE RAIN: Additional rain is expected. Residents in the area need to be alert and be prepared to shelter in place. Charge your phones. Assemble a Stay Kit with the following:

First aid kit

Pet supplies

Manual can opener

Cell phone & charger

Personal hygiene items

Cash (e.g., small bills and coins)

Flashlight(s) with extra batteries

72 hours worth of food and water

Copy of Family Communication Plan

Battery-powered or hand-crank radio

Prescription medications and eyeglasses

Important papers (e.g., insurance and financial)

TRACK WEATHER: For the latest Museum Fire scar weather conditions and NWS notifications please visit


MUSEUM FLOOD AREA CALL CENTER: The Call Center is operational daily. Hours of operation may shift depending on any weather events that may occur. The number is 928-679-8525.

STAY IN TOUCH: Coconino County and the City of Flagstaff are providing updates on our websites and social media:,, and |,

Information provided by Coconino County

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