Yavapai County chairman asks Gov. Doug Ducey to declare a state of emergency for the county.
MAYER — Residents in two trailer parks were cleaning up after taking the brunt of the damage from a fast-developing and completely unexpected flash flood in this small Yavapai County community.
As they shoveled away mud and swept up water, they couldn’t help but look over their shoulders. Yavapai County officials expressed concern as well.
Would future storm clouds wreak even more havoc on the community of 1,000, already reeling from the effects of the Goodwin Fire? Could thunderstorms pounding on areas scarred from that summer wildfire bring even more danger?
Homes at Stagecoach Mobile Village and Chimney Ranch Mobile Home Park were damaged as a flash flood along Big Bug Creek Wednesday night transformed dirt roads into debris-strewn mud traps.
The park’s manager, Tiffany Peterson, said those in the community were cleaning up and taking stock. Water had seeped into her trailer and got into the subfloor, which Peterson said would have to be replaced.
Peterson’s main concern was what might happen next — the next time water flows in from the north and the next time Big Bug Creek overflows.
“We’re not going to be able to reduce the damage right now,” Peterson said. “This is bad. I mean, the flood has nowhere to go.”
Tiffany’s husband, Jerry Peterson, did deliver some good news, saying the flooding hadn’t damaged their water and septic lines.
Both were unsure whether their insurance covered flood damage.
Some seek emergency declaration for county
Michael McGhee, an assistant chief for Mayer Fire District, said a flood-sensor warning system didn’t pick up on the severity of the water flows at Stagecoach Mobile Village, another trailer park in Mayer.
“It didn’t look like it was going to be a problem,” McGhee said. “The warning system told us we had flows, but the system wasn’t able to predict that we were going to have a 15-foot wall of water hitting Mayer.”
He did, however, know why the flood was as bad as it was — the scar left behind by the Goodwin Fire.
That fire, which burned north of Mayer, started in late June and burned almost 30,000 acres before it was contained earlier this month. It forced thousands of residents and campers to evacuate Mayer and surrounding areas.
Without trees or vegetation to stop some of it in the burned areas, most of the water went crashing through unimpeded as it headed south.
McGhee said the flood didn’t kill anyone, and he knew of only two people transported via ambulance — a fact he credited to God.
Patty Deangelis, a new resident who moved into the trailer park about a week ago, also blamed the Goodwin Fire for the extensive damage.
“There’s nothing stopping the water flow,” Deangelis said. “Nothing.”
Deangelis said she will stay in the park despite the flood damage. She can’t afford to move, she said.
McGhee said that fire district and county officials are working on a plan to handle any future floods but conceded that evacuating people was the most they could do right now.
Given the weather, he said there was a good chance trailer-park residents would have to evacuate again soon.
Tom Thurman, Yavapai County Board of Supervisors chairman, estimated the flood caused well over $1 million in property damage.
Thurman said he has requested that Gov. Doug Ducey declare a state of emergency for the entire county for the rest of the monsoon season because of the wildfire scar.
Doing so would provide additional resources, including funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, part of which could assist flood victims without flood insurance.
Thurman said Yavapai County Sheriff Scott Masher has been in contact with Ducey’s staff, and both he and Masher anticipate the governor’s signature.
‘I don’t know how they got out’
Mayer is 27 miles southeast of Prescott, a community of small hills and homes built along curvy roads. It hugs Arizona 69, with its welcome sign asking travelers to slow down and enjoy the sights.
Scott Nystrom, whose son lives in the Stagecoach Mobile Village, said the flood damage was made worse because two 10-foot trailers were caught underneath a nearby bridge.
Water built up behind them until the trailers exploded from the pressure.
“I don’t know how they (residents) got out,” McGhee said. “But, they were able to get out and get up the side of the mountain, and our crews were able to bring them out.”
Deputy Chief Brain Kotsur of Mesa Fire and Medical and a colleague captured the flood’s flow and damage with a drone. Kotsur said the drone’s camera is equipped with thermal imaging, allowing them to check for bodies within the murky depths.
None was found.
The Red Cross has set up a shelter at Mayer High School for evacuees needing a place to go.
Firefighters have begun to focus their efforts on the northwest portion of the Goodwin Fire, but rough terrain has caused issues. Law enforcement is investigating the fire’s cause, but no findings have been released. Sam Caravana/azcentral.com
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Fire retardant, or slurry, has been used to slow wildfires for decades.
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Nathan Henson returns home to find his house and car covered in slurry used by firefighters battling the Goodwin Fire on June 29, 2017, in Mayer. David Kadlubowski/azcentral.com
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Gov. Doug Ducey, along with the Southwest Incident Management Team and state, county and local officials, speaks to the media about the Goodwin Fire, on June 29, 2017, at Bradshaw Mountain High School in Prescott Valley. Rob Schumacher/azcentral.com
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TIME-LAPSE VIDEO: The Goodwin Fire has burned more than 20,000 acres and is 1 percent contained as of June 28, 2017. Rob Schumacher/azcentral.com
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The mandatory evacuation of the town of Mayer has been lifted as of 10 am on Thursday, June 29, 2017. Officials maintain their request for the public to keep drones out of the area. Sam Caravana/azcentral.com
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Volunteers from Animal Disaster Services care for displaced animals at Bradshaw Mountain High School Wednesday, June 28, 2017 in Prescott Valley, Ariz. the animals were displaced due to the Goodwin Fire. David Kadlubowski/azcentral.com
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Denny Foulk, Yavapai County Emergency Manager discusses state of emergency at Goodwin Fire effecting the community of Mayer, Poland Junction and Blue Hills, burning 14 miles south of Prescott. By Rob Schumacher/azcentral.com
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An air tanker makes a drop along SR 69 near Mayer on Tuesday, June 27, 2017. SR 69 was still closed between I-17 at Cordes Junction and SR 169 near Prescott Valley. Arizona Department of Transportation
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Fire retardant is dropped onto the Goodwin Fire on Tuesday, June 24, 2017. The fire had grown to 21,000 acres and burned at least some structures in its widening path, officials said early Tuesday. Arizona State Forestry.
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The Goodwin Fire south of Prescott seen from an airplane on Wednesday, June 28, 2017.
Spencer Dennis/Special to The Republic
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More residents are preparing for possible evacuations as a wildfire in northern Arizona continues to grow. (June 28)
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John Pierson, Southwest Incident Commander, holds a press briefing about the Goodwin Fire, which has burned over 20,000 acres near Prescott, forced evacuations in Mayer, Arizona, and crossed State Route 69, on June 28, 2017.
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The Goodwin Fire in northern Arizona grew to more than 20,000 acres on Wednesday morning. Here are scenes from the fire you should see.
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Firefighters battle “volatile and explosive” fuels as they try to contain the Goodwin Fire. Arizona State Forestry
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Mayer was evacuated June 27, 2017, as the Goodwin Fire came dangerously close. Resident Eveline Sandy talks while packing up her truck to leave, not knowing where to go. Tom Tingle/azcentral.com
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Helicopters drop flame retardant in Mayer as the Goodwin Fire approaches and the town is evacuated. Tom Tingle/azcentral.com
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As the Goodwin Fire continues to grow, more and more residents are being forced to evacuate.
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Azcentral.com reader Jennifer Johnson recorded this video of the Goodwin Fire as she was leaving Prescott Valley on June 27, 2017.
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The Goodwin Fire is burning 14 miles south of Prescott and south of the community of Mayer.
Scott Craven/The Republic
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Here are some tips to keep your family and home safe during wildfire season. Paige Schwahn/USA Today Network
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Goodwin Fire update, June 30, 2017
What is that red liquid poured on wildfires?
Goodwin Fire evacuee returns to slurry-covered home
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey talks about the Goodwin Fire
Time-lapse view of the Goodwin Fire burning near Prescott
Goodwin Fire: Mayer evacuation lifted
Animal Shelter for Goodwin Fire
Denny Foulk, Yavapai County Emergency Manager discuss state of emergency at Goodwin Fire
Air tanker makes a drop on Goodwin Fire
Fire retardant drops on Goodwin Fire
View Goodwin Fire from an airplane
Arizona fire grows, more evacuations possible
Goodwin Fire, June 28, 2017 morning press briefing
Scenes from the Goodwin Fire in Arizona
Fire crews battle the Goodwin Fire
Goodwin Fire forces evacuation of Mayer
Goodwin Fire helicopter attack
Goodwin Fire forces evacuations
Watch fire crews drop retardant on the Goodwin Fire
How to prepare your family for wildfire season
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