National Guard and volunteers prepare for potential floods

Oct 2, 2018, 6:32 PM | Updated: Oct 3, 2018, 8:06 am

PAYSON — Soldiers from the Utah National Guard are deployed all over southern Utah County as neighborhoods near burn scars getting ready for possible floods.  Some residents question if there are going to be enough sandbags to protect their property.

The order was for 12,000 sandbags to be filled, so, soldiers and volunteers came to Orchard Hills Ballpark to fill them.  Lieutenant Colonel Steve Brenchley says two communities asked for 4,000 bags, each.  Then another two cities asked for 2,000.  He also says 200 members of the Guard have been sent to help prepare places like Woodland Hills, Elk Ridge and the Covered Bridge area.

“We’ve got 30 [soldiers] right here on site, helping to do sandbags.  Then, we have teams of 10 to 20 folks spaced out,” he says.

Along with the bags, the Guard has brought in bulldozers to create trenches and build ponds designed to catch the floodwater before it goes down mountains.

Brenchly says, “Specifically, we’ve got the city engineer form Salem, and he’s directing some dig operations.”

However, even with all those resources at the ready, some homeowners have their doubts about how well their homes will be protected.  Kovi Gallagher lives on Loafer Canyon Road, and he thinks he’s going to need a lot more sandbags than what they were given.

“When Santaquin had their big flood years ago, they said they had their sandbags three deep and five high and it barely stopped [the water],” Gallagher says.

Even if there isn’t serious flooding from this specific storm, Gallagher says he’s still worried about what will happen next spring.

He says, “This mountain gets ten to 15 feet of snow on it in the winter.  So, when it melts next year, who knows what’s going to happen?”

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