Homeowners in Birdseye Hope for Help from Forest Service in Flood Recovery
Aug 4, 2019, 9:49 AM | Updated: 9:50 am
BIRDSEYE, Utah – People who experienced flood damage in the Bullseye community last weekend want the U.S. Forest Service to help them pay, saying they were partly responsible.
Heavy rain last Friday fell on the burn scar left behind by 2018’s Pole Creek Fire in Utah County. Flash floods and mudslides left damage in several places.
“All our fences were gone. We have three ponds. They were all destroyed,” said Donna Butler, who lives along Bennie Creek Road.
Butler said the flooding also washed out a creek bed that feeds their irrigation system.
“There was so much water in Bennie Creek that it washed the ground out from under where our diversions connect to it, so now that creek bed is about ten feet deeper than where our diversions are,” Butler said. “The water couldn’t even come down to our ditches to supply our cattle, our horses, anything.”
Butler said they did some work with a trackhoe to get that water flowing again, but there’s another ditch that she said will be an even bigger project. She wants the Forest Service to chip in to pay for the damage.
On September 6, 2018, lightning started the Pole Creek Fire. According to an analysis of the fire, Forest Service officials decided to let the fire burn inside a defined area.
“The risk versus values, location, time of year, all indicated that this is a fire that we should not engage,” the Forest DO said.
“The fire was burning in an area where fire was not detrimental, a long way from values at risk. And it was after the September 1 threshold date when Forest leadership agreed that the default response was to allow fire on the landscape,” the report reads.
Several days later, high winds made the fire blow up, combining with the Bald Mountain Fire to burn more than 120,000 acres.
“This wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for the burns that came through last fall and made it so that this water would rush down the mountain,” Butler said.
She said she hopes Natural Resources Conservation Service or the U.S. Forest Service will help pay for damage caused by the flooding.