Town Hall meeting addresses fire, flood protection

David Sowders/Arizona Silver Belt In preparation for monsoon flood season, free sandbags will be available at several locations in Globe-Miami.

A year after the Telegraph Fire and the disastrous floods that followed, another season of monsoon flooding is expected for the Cobre Valley. On June 7, in the Miami High School auditorium, community and county leaders assembled a Town Hall meeting to raise awareness of the risks and current mitigation efforts.

“We still need to practice good preparedness,” said Gila County Emergency Manager Carl Melford.

Globe District Ranger Adam Bromley said the current forecast is for an above-normal monsoon, and now is the time to prepare for the coming flood season by filling sandbags, cleaning out culverts and looking into flood insurance. Melford encouraged residents to stay updated on potential fire/flooding situations by signing up for the county’s Everbridge notification system at www.readygila.com/everbridge.

Globe residents can pick up free sandbags at the Teepee downtown or at Canyon Fire District on Jesse Hayes Road, near the Community Center. On Monday Gila County started filling sandbags, which will be available at the County Public Works Yard. The Town of Miami will have sandbags available starting June 20, at Hostetler Pool and the town’s Public Works Yard.

Melford also provided an update on four post-fire flood mitigation projects, in Bloody Tanks Wash, Ice House Canyon, Russell Gulch and Six Shooter Canyon. He said design on all four is 90% complete and construction on all four is anticipated to begin late this year, continuing through early 2023. The projects’ goal, Melford said, is to “allow creeks to handle as much water [flow] as possible.”

Public outreach meetings on three projects will be held June 29-30 in the Board of Supervisors conference room at the Gila County Courthouse, 1400 E. Ash St. Project plans, specifications and cost estimates will be discussed, and residents will have an opportunity to speak with county engineers, county officials and JE Fuller representatives regarding the projects. The June 29 meeting will cover the Ice House Canyon and Six Shooter Canyon projects; the Russell Gulch project will be covered at the June 30 meeting. Both meetings will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“We want to be able to designate ourselves a Firewise Community,” said Globe Mayor Al Gameros. The Firewise program helps communities organize and act to increase their fire resistance and reduce local wildfire risks. Firewise techniques include thinning vegetation around homes. “We have to be vigilant, and look around our residences for any dry brush,” said Miami Mayor Sammy Gonzales.

“This will haunt us for the next five years at least,” said  vGameros. “We all have a responsibility.”

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