Prepping for possible flooding
Volunteers in Pinedale help fill sand bags during a sandbag filling party on May 21st by the Pinedale Ambulance Barn. The filled bags will be staged to be ready to be used to protect property in the event of flooding this spring. Photo by Bill Winney.
2006 high water
Spring melt in May, 2006 caused the Green River to overflow its banks. This photo was taken between the Forest Boundary by Kendall and the Union Pass road. This was considered a "drought year" for winter melt. 2011 has 150% to 200% of normal snowpack that has not yet melted out of the mountains. File photo by Pinedale Online!
Citizens encouraged to do as much planning and staging now for their situations
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
June 3, 2011
The Sublette County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Management held a press conference on Friday, June 3rd to discuss preparations for possible flooding from the spring snow runoff this season.
Sublette County Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Mitchell said county officials and agencies are working diligently to do as much pre-planning as possible to identify potential problem areas and to prepare and stage resources in the event of high water issues in the upcoming weeks. Anyone who has questions or concerns can contact the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office to discuss their situation, Pinedale: 307-367-4378 ext. 6 and in Big Piney/Marbleton call 307-276-3450. The local fire departments will also be happy to answer questions and help with evaluations of local situations. The fire chiefs consider this another opportunity for them to give back and help their local fire community.
There are more than 15,000 sandbags dispersed around the county ready to be mobilized as needed should flooding situations occur. Homeland Security provided a portion of the supplies and a private business donated additional bags. Many volunteers have donated their time to help fill bags over the past weeks. The county purchased a sand bag filling machine that can fill up to 1,000 bags an hour, if needed, and they have a second machine on loan.
Pinedale: 750 filled sandbags on pallets ready to be mobilized as needed. Fire Chief Alvin Mitchell.
Boulder: 1000 sand bags and material ready to fill. Fire Chief John Blaha.
Big Piney/Marbleton: Eric Jessen of Miller Fabrication generously donated 8,000 filled sandbags. They are located at the county yard south of Big Piney. Fire Chief John Ball.
Daniel: 1,000 filled sandbags are located at the old gun range north of the Daniel Junction. Fire Chief Ben Franklin.
Bondurant: Some sandbagging has already been done to reinforce potential flooding areas along the Hoback River from high water in early May. Sand and 2,000 sandbags are available at the Bondurant fire hall. Fire Chief Richard Thomas.
Kendall Valley Fire Department: 1,000 sandbags filled. Crews working on filling an additional 1,000 bags. Fire Chief Joe Sampson.
Mitchell said no one can predict when the melt will come or if there will be flooding issues. "It’s all dependent on the weather," he said. "We can’t guess, we need to be reactionary. We are planning for it to be everywhere and we’ll address the needs as they come," Mitchell said. He added they aren’t looking for volunteers at this time for any of the flooding planning, but if they need it, they have already had offers by various groups that they are ready and willing to help out. "Everyone understands there is water coming and we don’t know where it will need to be attacked first."
Sublette County Fire Warden T.J. Hunt said they only anticipate about 8 to 10 homes that may need help. "Most of those people are aware of their flooding risk and are already planning," he said. "We’re probably not looking at Mississippi stuff, just 2-3 feet of high water - more of an inconvenience. We don’t think it will be really bad," he said.
Emergency management personnel stress that it is still very dangerous to be around creeks and rivers due to the high water banks fall in. "Give the river and creeks this time of year your respect," said Hunt.