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Seeley burn scar contributes to flooding

By Geoff Liesik | Posted - Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 8:43pm


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HUNTINGTON, Emery County — Residents below last year's Seeley fire scar burn are dealing with flooding problems again this year.

A wave of water came down State Road 31 early Friday morning about eight miles from Huntington.

According to a UDOT construction worker, the water was running about six feet wide across the road and nearly washed out a culvert. UDOT crews spent the day shoring up the culvert and clearing the road surface of mud and debris.

The flooding occurred on the same stretch of SR 31 where a flash flood wiped a piece of heavy equipment off the road last July.

"The fire was over in July last year," said Capt. Kyle Ekker of the Emery County sheriff's office. "The first flooding was in July, August and September last year. Now we're receiving the same this year through July and August. As you can see we're getting more debris and flood waters and we're dealing with it again."

Ekker said this problem isn't going to go away anytime soon, but the county is taking measures to help reduce the threat of flooding. Reseeding has taken place in the areas that were burned, but Ekker said it could be at least five years before the new plants take root.

Until the plants grow and help repair the burn scar, the residents of Huntington may be facing more bad flooding.

"The debris and flow came right up to the main road and it looked like we were going to lose our road through," said Huntington mayor Hilary Gordon of the 2012 flooding. "The ash and the sand and the fine stuff from the burn scar is coming down and causing a lot of damage for the farmers."

All the sediment in the water may force the city to shut down it's secondary water system for a day or two, the mayor said.

The canyon is also expected to be shut down over the weekend with rains predicted to fall through Sunday.

With that in mind, Ekker said people planning to travel through Huntington Canyon should be prepared for anything.

"We're telling them they can use SR 31 as long as it's open," Ekker said. "Check the signs, call us, but make sure you have enough fuel to go off in another direction."

Travelers are also instructed to not drive through flowing water on the road.

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