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7/10/2013 6:00:00 AM
Flash floods a concern in wake of Kingman's Dean Peak Fire
Areas charred by the Dean Peak Fire could cause flooding.
Areas charred by the Dean Peak Fire could cause flooding.

Doug McMurdo
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - Already beleaguered residents living in the Hualapai Mountains face a new threat after the nearly fully contained Dean Peak Fire consumed 5,400 acres of forest over nine days - flash floods.

According to Mohave County Sheriff's spokeswoman Trish Carter, flash flooding is common when large areas are burned off, creating prime conditions for flooding during monsoon storms. Those storms could come as early as today and last through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service's Las Vegas office.

Carter said fire burned the dense and runoff-slowing vegetation that was in place before lightning sparked the Dean Peak Fire on June 29.

The charred now-barren forest floor increases the risk of localized floods in washes originating in the Dean Peak area, said Carter.

The Hualapai, Frees and McGarry wash systems have the potential of carrying large amounts of runoff from the impacted area, she said.

Officials from multiple agencies will monitor storm systems as they move through the area with specific attention given to the Blake Ranch Road between Interstate 40 and the Yellow Pine Ranch, as well as DW Ranch Road from the interstate up into the community of Pinion Pine.

On Monday evening, the Bureau of Land Management's Kingman Field Office assumed management of the fire, which is more than 90 percent contained.

Carter said the Sheriff's Office and several other Mohave County departments frequently meet with the BLM and have a flood plan in place.

According to Sgt. Don Bischoff, deputies are prepared to respond to flash flooding in an effort to ensure public safety.

Carter said motorists should not attempt to cross running washes.

Drivers should wait on higher ground until the water recedes.

"Flash flooding can, and often does, occur in areas several miles from a storm cell location," said Carter. "These floods occur quickly and without warning."

Traffic will be limited to residents, fire crews and emergency services, as the BLM has ordered a closure of the area due to the fire.

The closure encompasses the area east of DW Ranch Road, north of Hualapai Mountain Road, north of Hualapai Mountain County Park, north of the Pine Lake community, north of Wheeler Wash Road, west of Blake Ranch Road and south of Old Highway 93.

The BLM will lift the closure once the threat lessens.

Meanwhile, crews continue to strengthen containment lines and have begun rehabilitation efforts in the affected areas, said Carter.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Article comment by: Thomas Sirianni

I want to thank my little brother Dan Winder (Captain Kingman fireman) for his and his crew for their brave support in defending residence and property from the Dean Peak fire.

Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Article comment by: Dee Schmidt

Thank to all the firefighters who have worked long hours day and night on the Dean Peak and the Yarnell fire.
I watched the water trucks line up on the street fill up with water, and when one that one is full the next tuck pulls up. Its like the trucks are at the gas station, but they are at the fire hydrant filling their trucks with water for the fire.
Several things I noticed is the men who were driving the trucks would get out of the trucks and help each other and shake hands as their truck was filling, it didn't take long and that one would be heading out.
Its good to read that the fire is contained and the residents can go home.
I'm sadden too that the residents of Yarnell have lost not only 19 of their finest Hot Shot Crew, but many residents have lost their homes too.
We all know Dean Peak and Yarnell will never be the same, however in do time the trees, grass, and animals will come back.
The 19 who gave their lives will be missed but not forgotten.

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