Sedona AZ (July 10, 2014) – Even though the Slide Fire has been extinguished, there remains a threat of flash floods, mudslides and rock slides in Oak Creek Canyon. On three occasions recently, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) temporarily closed portions of State Route 89A between Sedona and Flagstaff due to flooding and debris flow. With the exception of weather driven closures, State Route 89A remains open. Even though Forest Service campgrounds and forest service recreation areas in Oak Creek Canyon are closed, all of the businesses are open.
Public safety agencies are trying to reduce the negative impact of road closures on residents and businesses by limiting closures. There will be times that the road closes for public safety and motorist safety reasons. Once the highway is closed responding agencies work together to reopen the highway as soon as possible. Life Safety is of paramount importance to agencies responding to the area.
Debris flow caused by storm water runoff in Oak Creek has resulted in grey murky water creating questions regarding water quality in Oak Creek. According to the Coconino County Public Health Services District, water contamination is likely following flooding events. Health officials recommend that residents and visitors, especially children and pets, not drink untreated creek water or swim in the creek water as bacteria may be present.
Residents with concerns regarding water quality and well water questions are advised to visit the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality website at http://www.azdeq.gov/environ/water/dw/download/wildfires.pdf.
As a reminder, flash floods can occur after a few minutes or hours of heavy rainfall. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of moving water carrying rocks, mud and other debris. Heavy rainfall could trigger flash floods, rock slides and debris flows within and downstream of the Slide Fire scar area. Please use caution. Move away from the water and if possible head toward State Route 89A or get to high ground east of Oak Creek during flood events.