Sen. Flake tours Goodwin Fire scar

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake toured fire and flood damaged areas near the Goodwin Fire burn scar.

MAYER, Ariz. - Jeff Flake made his way through the scar of the Goodwin Fire Thursday and checked out what was left of the flooding that came after.

The senator didn’t have much time to speak with people living there, but some told 12 News they didn’t know whether much could be done.

At the end of June, 28,000 acres went up in flames, leaving soil unable to hold monsoon downpours.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake toured the devastation alongside Prescott Valley Mayor Harvey Skoog, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy David Rhodes and Chairman of the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors District 2 Thomas Thurman.

The group ran across Howard Coatney, whose home was damaged by the flames and smoke. Coatney was working to get water to homes that lost their tanks to the fire.

“It’s kind of comforting to know that they’re interested in what has taken place,” Coatney said.

Dale Bennett of Mayer saw the senator’s caravan drive past his home.

“I wish he would’ve stopped. He could’ve helped carry some sandbags and moved some rocks,” Bennett said, laughing.

Bennett was trying to keep Big Bug Creek from taking over his property again.

When asked what he thought may help his community rebuild from hit after hit from nature, Bennett replied, “Seeds. probably putting seed would be the best thing, just something to slow down the water.”

Aerial seeding is scheduled over the burned area for Monday.

“I think they’re seeding about 2,000 acres mostly in the watersheds close to the communities,” Sen. Flake said.

“We’re pretty self-sufficient out here. We’re all off the grid and there’s a reason why we live out here,” Coatney said.

Moving forward, Flake wants to see a focus on prevention, but he admitted it wouldn’t come from the private sector because there wasn’t much to harvest in this part of the Prescott National Forest.

“When you can’t utilize the wood, you know, for biomass or pellets or plywood or other uses, then you move to firebreaks and you put in barriers between the communities you’re dealing with,” Flake explained.

He wants to see this type of protection come from teamwork between federal and state agencies.

Thurman said in addition to multiple structures such as outhouses, six homes were destroyed by the flames. The fire damage was estimated at $4 to $5 million and the cause is still under investigation.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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