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Operation Sandbag. Another step in mitigating the effects of the Telegraph Fire

The call went out by text and Facebook posts: help was needed Friday, July 2 from 7 to 9 am to fill sandbags. Following our recent fires, flood risk is high and multiple mitigation efforts are underway. Globe Mayor Al Gameros explained, “We need to come together as a community at this time.”  

Fortunately, that is happening.  

The mines and local businesses have donated hundreds of pallets and there are now multiple sandbag stations set up around the community. For the 20,000+ filled sand bags, the first volunteers to help were local 4H kids, Globe High School football team players, and Boy Scouts.  Department of Corrections inmates have filled thousands of bags by hand in their prison yard.  The US Forest Service Globe Ranger Station and the UofA Cooperative Extension are scheduled to begin filling another 100,000 empty bags and other volunteers are needed.  All of this is in addition to the Gila County Public Works crews who have worked tirelessly every day, including weekends and the holiday.

 For the Friday sandbag work party, volunteers arrived without knowing what to expect. Michelle Yerkovich laughed as she said, “I brought a shovel. I thought we’d be mucking. This is so much better!” The “better” was a well-organized and efficient system that could fill an entire pallet of sand bags in 5-10 minutes and ended up creating 2000 sand bags that morning. 

Workers with heavy equipment filled dump trucks with sand from around the local washes, then deposited the sand at work sites. At the Gila County Public Works site, two large sandbag machines were set up. Loaders were dropping a full bucket of sand every 10-15 minutes in each of two machines to keep them operating. Workers put empty sand bags under chutes on the machines and then stepped on foot pedal releases to fill. The heavy bags were passed assembly-line style to another set of volunteers who tied the bags closed, then a different crew loaded the bags onto pallets with about 50 sand bags. Plastic was wrapped around the full pallets to secure the bags and heavy equipment moved these pallets into a yard until crews with work trucks, like those donated by Dalmolin, could transport the pallets around the community.  

Donated pallets came in from many sources. Courtesy Photo

If you need sandbags, they are available free of charge at Gila County Public Works, Miami Police Department, Canyon Fire Department, and at Mackey’s Camp. Seniors and disabled residents can request sandbag assistance by contacting Stacie Espinoza with Gila County at 928-402-4336.  

With heightened flood risk for the next few years, it is wise to know safety procedures if a flood warning is given. First, find shelter right away or seek higher ground. Flash floods move very quickly! Don’t walk, swim or drive in floodwaters as only 6 inches of moving water can knock you down and 1 foot of water can sweep away a car. Stay off bridges over fast-moving water.  The best practice is “turn around, don’t drown.”

If you have not done so yet, please sign up for free real-time emergency alerts by phone, text or email through Everbridge. This service can be accessed through the Gila County Emergency Management website.

Fortunately, at this time of need, many people are doing whatever they can to help. Janis Bentz, a school teacher on summer break, showed up to fill sandbags. “I heard that help was needed, so I came.”

The following locations have pre-filled sandbags available for pick up: 

1Gila County Public Works Yard

    745 N Rose Mofford Way

 Near Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center        

2Globe Public Library Parking Lot

    339 South Broad Street

    Next to the Teepee

3Globe Community Center

    1370 So Jesse Hayes

    Globe- Below Soccer Fields

4Miami Police Department

    740 Sullivan Street

    Miami- Downtown

5Canyon Fire Department

    1300 S Jesse Hayes Road

Globe – Below Globe Community Center 

Sandbag Assistance

Residents who are elderly or have disabilities that prevent them from repairing their sandbag walls adjacent to their homes can Stacie Espinoza at (928) 402-4336 or email her at sespinoza@gilacountyaz.gov. 



Post Fire Flooding CleanUp

One comment

  1. Tonto Gravity Riders. (T.G.R) is here to stay and we are up to the task. we are glad to help the community in any way possible. this is just a small part of what we love to do. filling sandbags was a success and we were happy to be there for the community.

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