Residents of the Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians Reservation may have dodged a bullet from a devastating fire last month, but the Patch Springs Wildfire may have gotten the last laugh.
Ash and debris have flowed onto the reservation after recent cloudbursts slashed rain across burn scars from the wildfire that consumed seven houses or buildings in nearby Willow Springs and more than 30,000 acres last month.
Matt Phillippi, range conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, said he and other employees have been assessing the area to see what can be done about the flooding.
“They’re in the process of trying to figure out what we’re going to do to help them out,” he said. “With the recent rain, a lot of the ash and whatnot has been flooded down from the burn area down to the reservation.”
The fire, which started Aug. 10 and was completely contained on Aug. 24, came within two miles of the reservation but did not force evacuations, as it did in the Terra and Willow Springs areas.
However, the wildfire did not pass so close by completely without damage — the reservation’s irrigation water system was damaged in the fire, Phillippi said, and that is another facet of the problem being considered by NRCS.
Lori Bear, chairwoman of the Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians, said repair to the head gate for the irrigation system is being addressed, and residents were also working to prevent further flooding caused by the fire.