Havasupai Falls visitors evacuated
SUPAI – The Havasupai Tribal Council has closed the Havasu Canyon to visitors for 7 to 10 days due to Northern Arizona’s monsoon rains causing a flash flood at Havasupai Falls.
Two waves of flooding, one of about 7 feet, hit Supai before dark Wednesday, and another that hit at around 3:30 a.m. Thursday, caused the closure.
Friday the HMA Public Relations office informed the Daily Miner that nearly 200 of the visitor’s onsite at the campgrounds at Havasupai falls were safely evacuated from the area by 6 p.m. Thursday.
Many had to evacuate without their packs and the Havasupai Tribal Council and Havasupai Tourism Enterprise employees reported no serious injuries or casualties.
The waves of flood waters didn’t hit Supai Village which is approximately 1 ½ miles from the campground, but there is some significant flooding in several Tribal buildings due to the rain water. In addition, there are reports of debris, sinkholes and a bridge that has been compromised throughout the Tribal Community which is non-public areas.
The Tourist Office and Emergency Response Team evacuated the campgrounds and opened the community building and school for people to sleep. Cell and water services are operational at the village, and the café remains open. No visitors have been evacuated from the village, which has so far remained untouched by the flood waters. However, there is significant flooding in several buildings from rain water.
Indian Route 18 remains closed until further notice. Only tribal members, law enforcement and emergency response teams will have access to travel along Indian Route 18.
Grand Canyon Caverns will provide breakfast, shower facilities and access to telephones for those who have been evacuated. Tourists with upcoming reservations should contact a travel adviser for additional information and not the Tribal Tourism Office, as the office’s phone lines are being used for emergency services.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety dispatched a field officer to Supai to assist Tribal leadership in assessing and evaluating the conditions. The Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (AZ DEMA) and Coconino County Emergency Management will also be assisting the Tribe in assessing and evaluating the conditions of the area.
The trail from Hilltop is unsafe and due to the conditions in Supai, the area remains closed to visitors until the Tribe repairs the damaged campgrounds and determines that the area is safe.
The tourism office estimates that there are approximately 300 reservations that may be impacted by the closure. Tourists with confirmed reservations should contact their travel agent or outfitter for more information. If your visit is directly impacted by this closure, you will have the option to reschedule your reservation, although specifics on the process are unavailable at this time.
Please do not contact the Tribal Tourism Office at this time. All phone lines are being used for emergency services. Updated information regarding re-opening will posted on the Tribe’s website http://theofficialhavasupaitribe.com/.
Information provided by HMA Public Relations