Heavy rain in the area scorched by last summer’s Water Wheel Fire caused debris to slide onto the road and block a culvert Wednesday, leaving water and rocks covering part of Houston Mesa Road. The road remained open.
Gila County Sheriff’s deputies, along with the Gila County Road Crew and a Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer responded to the second Water Wheel Crossing just after 4 p.m., clearing the mess within half an hour, said Sgt. George Scott.
“The county ran a blade over the road several times,” fixing the problem, said Scott.
“Whenever you have a forest fire, the run off of debris is real heavy,” he added, because the water doesn’t soak into the ground.
The near-disastrous Water Wheel Fire started by a campfire last August, and burned almost 800 acres. The blaze came within a quarter-mile of ravaging the communities of Beaver Valley and Whispering Pines.
Now, the lack of vegetation has increased the likelihood of mudslides after heavy rain, said Scott. The threat will remain until vegetation re-grows.