About Coconino County

About Coconino County

Encompassing 18,661 square miles, Coconino County, Arizona, is the second largest county in the U.S. but one of the least populated. Our county includes Grand Canyon National Park, the Navajo, Havasupai, Hualapai and Hopi Indian Reservations, and the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the world. Elevations range from 2,000 feet above sea level along the Colorado River to 12,633 feet at the summit of Mt. Humphreys in Flagstaff.

Glad To Be Home And Back To SAR

I hadn't planned to respond to any SAR calls for at least a week after coming home from Nepal. I figured I'd take a little break after being on the other side of the planet for a few months, spend some time catching up on my "to do" list, reorganize my SAR pack, and generally just chill out.

But I couldn't resist. When, a couple of days after I got back, a second call-out was made within a half hour for volunteers to assist Yavapai County's Search and Rescue team with the search for a missing 2-year-old, I dialed the SAR line after listening to the message and left one of my own. "This is Deb Lauman, number 6-2-0. I'm responding."

The call was for the following morning, to meet at the SAR building at 6a.m. Soon after, I was headed south to Beaver Creek Campground near Sedona with a teammate from General SAR and a member of the mounted unit and his horse. Coconino County SAR had been assisting with this search on the previous two days as well.

Soon after arriving at the staging area and signing in, the three of us were given our assignment--a rather large, rugged area, thick with cat claw and cactus, with one boundary being the creek that runs alongside the campground from which little Sylar Newton went missing in the middle of the night a few days earlier. We searched as thoroughly as we could all day, doing our best to stay hydrated and focused as we dripped with sweat in the intense heat and humidity. We called in anything we found we thought had any possibility of being important, giving a description and coordinates to Incident Command. A deputy was sent out to inspect and collect some of the items we located.

At the end of day four of the search, Syler was still missing. And he's still missing today, the end of day seven.

Here's a video about the case...

Related news articles:

120 Hours and Search & Rescue Still Have Not Found Sylar Newton

Mother of Missing Two-Year-Old Speaks Out

Crews Search Landfill in Case of Missing Arizona Boy

While this search was going on, members of our Search and Rescue team were assisting east of Flagstaff in neighborhoods impacted by flash flooding. These floods are the result of charred soil on the peaks from the huge Schultz wildfire earlier this summer, unable to absorb all of the monsoon rain. That fire was started by an abandoned campfire and burned more than 15,000 acres. The resulting floods have caused extensive property damage to area residents and one death, when a 12-year-old girl was swept away.

On Thursday and Friday, I responded to additional calls for SAR assistance in the flood areas, but my contribution (going door-to-door passing out flood advisory information) was very minimal compared to the days of neighbors helping neighbors and other Flagstaff residents volunteering to fill and stack sandbags, shovel mud, and anything else they can do help those in need, including some whose homes appear to be a complete loss.

Related articles:

Flagstaff residents cleaning up, bracing for more rain after deadly flash flood

Rain Outlook Bad For Schultz Flood Area