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Experts say Pima County residents should be concerned about flooding amid Bighorn Fire

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TUCSON (KVOA) - It is a no-brainer in Southern Arizona; we love the rain and desperately need it. But experts say because of the Bighorn Fire, residents need to be extra cautious come the monsoon.

"It is not just this monsoon season. It will be this way until it truly revegetates and that ground can start accepting water again, depending on how hot it burned," said Oro Valley Public Works Director Paul Keesler.

Keesler said, so far, Oro Valley looks good, but he will not know for sure until the Bighorn Fire is completely out and the BER Assessment Team takes a look.

"How hot had it burned? Had it burned to where all the vegetation is gone?" he said. "Is it hot enough that it has changed the geology of the ground? Is the ground not going to soak up the water up anymore?"

If you live in different parts of Pima County, it is a different story.

"We advise a healthy level of freak out," said Pima County Regional Flood Control District Brian Jones.

Jones said if an area has been burned heavily, the water will repel it. Houses near the fire might be safe from the flames, but when the next storm hits, flooding becomes the new issue.

"Golder Wash, Esperero Wash, Geronimo Wash, Finger Rock Wash, Ventana Canyon Wash and Pima Wash are the ones we are really concerned about right now," said Jones.

Jones said that list of washes to be concerned about will probably grow.

He said if you live in any of those areas, talk to your insurance agent about adding flood coverage.

FEMA said the 30 day waiting period for flood insurance to take effect will be waived if you need to file a claim. This only applies if you purchase coverage before a flood.

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Allie Potter

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