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Preparations made for potential flooding near Jacob City burn scar and Tooele County

Posted at 12:33 PM, Sep 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-14 19:31:18-04

STOCKTON, Utah — Wet weather in Tooele County has residents preparing for possible flooding.

With most of Utah expected to see heavy downpours at some point Wednesday, one town is preparing for the worst as recent wildfires made it vulnerable to dangerous flash flooding.

Tooele County Emergency Services has set up a sandbagging station in Stockton just in case flooding does take place near where a fire raged this summer.

Tooele residents Roberta Skordas and her son stopped by a self serve sandbagging station in Tooele Wednesday afternoon, loading up six bags, that she hopes will help protect her home from possible flooding.

They have lived in Tooele for more than two years, after moving there from Millcreek.

"Last summer when the water flooded through downtown Tooele and that was a bit shocking," said Skordas.

Which is why she isn't taking any chances this time around.

"I bought 102 year old home and I totally remodeled it," said Skordas.

"When they offered free sandbags, my son offered to help me fill some, so, we could block off the garage," said Skordas.

"We're encouraging all of the residents throughout the county to prepare their properties, to prepare their lots,, to try to prevent any kind of water from inundating their homes into their basements," said Bucky Whitehouse, Tooele County Emergency Services Director.

The Jacob City fire in July has proven troublesome for residents in and near Soldier Canyon after it burned about 4,000 acres.

Whitehouse says that area is a cause for concern with an inch of rain or more expected on Wednesday.

"Rain over the course of six hours is one thing, but heavy, intense rain over a short period of time will create what we have here today," said Whitehouse.

The town's 37-year old water treatment plant was taken out of service following the fire due to risks of sediment and debris from contaminating the system. A month later, heavy rains caused several residents living in the mouth of the canyon to be evacuated.

He says they will have county crews out monitoring areas, like Soldier Canyon and across the county that are prone to flooding.

"If they live in a vulnerable area for flooding events to be prepared to leave their homes on short notice, so to understand what valuables they might need to take and then where they need to go," said Whitehouse.

"There's a lot of history in this canyon for a lot of residents of Stockton and Rush Valley are in general, and a lot of that history is now gone," said Stockton police chief Travis Romney earlier this summer.

Town and county response teams will be monitoring critical areas of the canyon that are prone to flooding. They also encourage the nearly 700 Stockton residents, and those throughout Tooele County, to start preparing properties before the rainfall begins.