Arizona floods force hundreds of tourists to evacuate, plan travel to well-known tribal land

Flood of a waterfall on the Havasupai reservation in Supai, Ariz., forced about 200 tourists were evacuated from a campsite on the tribal land near the famous waterfalls, deep in a gorge off the Grand Canyon, Thursday, July 12, 2018.

(Associated Press)

Flash floods in the vicinity of the Grand Canyon this week turned towering blue-green waterfalls to chocolate-coloured mud, as hundreds of tourists going to a remote Indian reservation were forced to evacuate.

Abbie Fink, a spokeswoman for the Havasupai Tribe, said 300 people had reservations for the village campsite or lodge in Supai, Ariz., deep in a gorge off the Grand Canyon.

“Every day is closed, it is a different set of people affected by it,” she said of the people who made the reservations for the next few days.

The tribe doesn’t allow day hikers, so visitors have to reserve the overnight stay, and the reservations fill quickly.

This 1997 file photo shows one of the five waterfalls on Havasu Creek as the water tumble down 210 feet to the Havasupai Tribe of the reservation in a south-east branch of the Grand Canyon near Supai, Ariz.

(Associated Press)

The tribal land outside of Grand Canyon National Park is best known for its majestic Havasu Falls, which appear as an oasis in the desert.

The crews were assessing the damage Friday to determine when it is safe for visitors to return, but the area is closed for at least a week.

Two waves of flooding Wednesday night and Thursday morning forced 200 tourists to evacuate. They were stranded and have flown out of the canyon reported.

130am: Heavy rainfall just south of Supai from the last hour will lead to flash floods. Flash Flood Warning until 415am. Move to higher ground! #azwx

— NWS Flagstaff (@NWSFlagstaff) July 12, 2018

The popular campground was inundated with water rising high above the shallow stream that runs through it.

The Water sloshed up around the tents, burying some in the dirt. Tourists scribbled benches, trees and caves, as they sought higher ground. Some were stranded on newly formed islands, tourist Benji Xie said.

A helicopter lands to rescue people from flooding on the Havasupai reservation in Supai, Ariz., Thursday, July 12, 2018.

(Benjie Xie via AP)

“Everything is brown and muddy now,” Xie, a 25-year-old native of Seattle, said Thursday while waiting for his turn to be flown.

All the tourists were booked and there was no one seriously injured, said Fink.


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Juan Garcia, who planned the trip since February, and said that he and his five friends started with the planning of other activities when she heard the bad news, the Arizona Republic reported.

“It’s still kind of up in the air because it is such short notice,” Garcia said. “We are quite open air is from the northwest. We are perfectly fine with just pitching some tents on the side of the road.”

Pamela Hokanson Low said in a post in a popular Facebook group for the Havasupai visitors that they is on the way to Lake Powell, to the Republic.

“Not going to let it ruin our weekend,” she wrote. “Blessed that we are not stuck in that mess. I feel bad for all those who traveled far to come here.”

A rainbow appears over a waterfall on the Havasupai reservation in Supai, Ariz., Wednesday, July 11, 2018.

(Benjie Xie via AP)

Nedra Darling. U. S. Bureau of Indian Affairs spokeswoman, said the agency has not yet received a damage estimate, but assisted in the evacuation of the tourists.

The canyon is only accessible by foot, helicopter or mule ride. About 400 tribal members live there all year round.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Amy’s Place is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

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