Jun 12, 2012 8:19 PM

Monument Fire, 1 Year Later: Fire created lasting flooding danger

SIERRA VISTA - It's been one year since the devastating Monument Fire hit the community near Sierra Vista.

Hundreds of structures were destroyed or damaged, mostly from the fire, but many others were hit months later by flooding.

The reason flooding was so bad was because the fire burnt all the vegetation so there was nothing to slow down the water, and it wasn't just water. All the ash and debris came with it forcing many people to put up sand bags but some it wasn't enough.

Tom Beatty owns Beatty's guest ranches up in Miller Canyon. He said, "It flooded pretty bad in 77 but I think this one was worse."

He said it was worse because it wasn't just a few inches of water, or even just a few feet. Beatty said, "We had a six foot high berm. The sand just filled it up right behind it and went over it anyway."

And it wasn't just dirty water; it was water carrying parts of the mountain.

Beatty said, "It put big boulders 6-7 ft across on our property and took out two walls in one of our cabins."

But the Beatty's aren't letting Mother Nature beat them. Walls have been rebuilt, channels dug out, and trees replanted, but it's far from back to normal.

He said, "Oh yeah, we'll be working on this for years."

But to the Beatty's that's not discouraging at all. in fact, they said when they look around they see things that are encouraging. Beatty said, "I think in just a few years you won't even notice a big difference because right along the creek it didn't burn much. The trees are still good and tall in there and that's where the trails are."

Beatty said they will continue to clean things up to not only make things better now but prevent future problems if more fires or flooding pop up.

They said what they really need is Mother Nature to finally cooperate. It's ironic considering what their worst enemy was last year, could be their best friend this year.


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