Guardsmen, Payson Volunteers Fill Sandbags Ahead Of Storms

Oct 2, 2018, 7:23 PM | Updated: 9:41 pm

PAYSON, Utah – Hundreds of volunteers helped soldiers from the Utah Army National Guard fill sandbags in Payson as they braced for heavy rain expected to arrive overnight.

“If it’s going to be as heavy as they say, it’s going to be a mess,” said Payson resident Lee Elmer.

With tropical moisture headed their way, homeowners said they were worried about flash flooding over burn scars caused by the recent Pole Creek and Bald Mountain wildfires.

“I’m afraid this will fill up with trees and trash and mud and come down this side of town,” Elmer said.

Elmer joined fellow volunteers at the Orchard Hills Ballpark to fill sandbags Tuesday after the city issued a call for help. The fire department asked for assistance after machines brought in to fill sandbags became clogged because of the clay-like consistency of the dirt.

“Payson is a great community. I’m amazed at how many people are here to help,” said Payson resident Marianne Allred, who also answered the call to volunteer. “They’re all willing to come out and help at a moment’s notice.”

The 200 guard soldiers were working alongside residents to fill 12,000 sandbags to be delivered to Elk Ridge, Covered Bridge, Payson and other nearby areas.

“Hopefully we can get things in place today – get that done into the late evening tonight,” said Utah National Guard Lt. Col. Steven Brenchley said of the sandbags and cement barriers. “If this storm is a slow mover, that might be better, but we’re still going to get a lot of water toward the back end of it.”

Ahead of the storm, Utah Governor Gary Herbert issued an executive order Tuesday afternoon to declare a state of emergency due to the potential of flooding.

“As we continue to work together, we will do everything we can to protect life and property,” Herbert said in a statement. “I urge all residents in at-risk areas to heed all warnings and orders from local public safety officials.”

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Guardsmen, Payson Volunteers Fill Sandbags Ahead Of Storms