More than a dozen homes were damaged on Sunday as flash floods from the Telegraph fire swept through Gila County.
GLOBE, Arizona – More than a dozen homes in Gila County were damaged after flash floods swept through the area on Sunday. The flooding was caused by the telegraph fire that burned 180,000 acres.
“This is insane and we can’t even open the doors to try to escape. Watch the stream rushing over there, ”Chris Holyoak said as he recorded video of the raging water from inside his home.
“There is my front yard. Oh my God, Bonnie come see the front yard!
Chris didn’t know if he and his sister Bonnie would make it out alive.
“I literally got down on my knees and started praying, ‘Lord, let us go through this’ because I thought we were gone,” said Bonnie Miller.
A flash flood warning was issued for Gila County on Sunday as rain was expected in the area, allowing some residents to prepare, but few expected the severity of the flooding.
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“Do you see the truck over there?” See the water rushing? Do you see that furniture over there? It was on our porch. The fence is torn off by the force of the water, ”Chris explained.
Chris and Bonnie’s truck, the only way to escape, flew before their eyes. It was torture because the debris-filled water then began to flood inside their house as well.
“That’s it, it’s coming through the door. It happens in the bathroom. It becomes bad people, ”Chris said.
Fortunately, the flooding eventually subsided, but damage has already been done to their home and more than a dozen others.
“He destroyed our fence. We don’t even have a front yard anymore. We don’t even have a backyard anymore, ”Bonnie said. “It literally took, I would say, 20 maybe 30 minutes for the whole thing to come down and get through. It’s pretty, pretty devastated here. “
Flash floods come from fires and, in this case, the Telegraph Fire. The flames stopped but left traces and left scars of burns.
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“Forest fires change the character of the soil and the soil. Usually, when the rain falls, some of this water is absorbed by the soil and the rest flows out. In areas with burn scars, the ground is much harder and looks like pavement where it doesn’t absorb water at all, ”said a National Weather Service representative.
Chris, Bonnie and the Globe community are now working together to clean up the area while preparing for the worst in case the flooding recurs.
“If you know it’s monsoon season, you better put a sandbag in and I mean a sandbag at least three to four feet deep, especially with that debris. It was six feet, the water in our house, ”Bonnie said. “It has never been so devastating. Never”
Experts say the first one or two years after a forest fire can make the area more vulnerable to flash floods, and in some cases it can take more than three to four years for the burnt area to recover.
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