Scientists study debris flows after Yarnell fire

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX (AP) -- Scientists are studying the potential for debris flows in the area of the Yarnell Hill Fire that burned through rugged terrain last month south of Prescott.

Debris flows are composed of water, mud, and rocks that can sweep through recently burned areas and create hazards for residents, infrastructure and water resources.

The scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, the Arizona Geological Survey, and the Arizona Department of Emergency Management say the findings will help increase understanding of other flows following wildfires across the western U.S.

The lightning-sparked fire began June 28 and destroyed more than 100 homes before it was contained July 10. Nineteen firefighters were killed fighting the blaze.

The scientists say the study will help improve efforts to understand post-fire debris flows that can be used by emergency responders to better protect lives and property.