FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.—– A federal study funded by Coconino County determined Cinder Lake, a dry volcanic cinder bed capable of storing 3,960 acre-feet of water, is adequate to contain floodwater from the 2010 Schultz Fire burn area.
Results from the Cinder Lake Study, compiled by hydrologists and scientists with the US Geological Survey, substantiate that Cinder Lake serves as a significant element of the larger flood mitigation efforts to protect residents and property in the Doney Park area from ongoing flooding.
“Armed with this new information, the County, and our federal and state partners, are in a better position to fine tune projects aimed at ensuring floodwaters travel in the least destructive path as possible,” said County Supervisor Liz Archuleta, whose district includes the flood area.
The study was in response to extensive flooding in the wake of the 2010 Schultz Fire that charred more than 15,000 acres of forest on the eastern face of the San Francisco Peaks. As summer rainfall came, flood waters quickly ran through neighborhoods, decimating properties, roadways, utility lines and claiming the life of a 12-year-old girl.
The scientific geologic study found that flood water is naturally flowing into Cinder Lake and into the subsurface.
USGS subsurface surveys estimate the lake can hold approximately 1.3 billion gallons of water. The flood events during the 2011 summer monsoon season produced about 16 million gallons of water, which eventually made its way into Cinder Lake.
“These events have greatly impacted our residents who constantly have a cautious eye skyward,” said County Supervisor Mandy Metzger, whose district is also impacted by the floods. “This study provides a critical piece of information and reinforces our early belief that Cinder Lake had the capacity needed to develop a comprehensive flood mitigation strategy.