The Main Stream

May 18, 2012 1:42 AM

Tombstone worried about recent structure fires and little water

TOMBSTONE - City leaders are worried they do not have enough water to fight a major fire in the historic district.

The city lost much of its water infrastructure after the Monument Fire and flooding last summer.

Most of Tombstone's water comes from the Huachuca Mountains near Sierra Vista. An aqueduct longer than 30 miles was constructed in the 1880s.

"I can't do the work that needs to be done in the time frame it needs to be done," Tombstone Public Works Project Manager Kevin Rudd said.

The National Forest Service is restricting the use of heavy machinery in the highly protected Miller Peak Wilderness.

The Forest Service did let the city to use heavy machinery near Miller and Gardner Springs last winter.

Workers are allowed to use hand tools to make other repairs.

Forest officials say they want to work with the city but with the least possible damage to the Coronado National Forest.

Tombstone just lost a court battle that would end the restrictions.

Attorneys for the city argue their water rights date back further than the designation of the Wilderness Area and are more important.

A fire burned down Six Gun City in the historic district of Tombstone in December 2010.

"Couldn't save Six Gun," the former owner Mike Carrafa said, "but we saved the rest of the town, and that's the concern now."

A fire destroyed 3 buildings on historic "Whisky Row" in Prescott last week. It took more than 2 hours to fight.

Tombstone's water supply might only last 40 to 60 minutes, according to Rudd.

A group of citizens started the Tombstone Shovel Brigade to protest the Forest Service.

The Brigade is asking volunteers to send $5 and a shovel to Tombstone City Hall to help with repairs.

They plan on marching into Miller Canyon next month.

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