On March 11, 2020 at approximately 4:00 PM, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch received a call regarding stranded motorists on Forest Service Road 413, on Mingus Mountain in the Prescott National Forest. The stranded subjects were traveling back from Jerome to Camp Verde where they were staying. They consulted their GPS for the shortest route and were directed onto Forest Road 413 on Mingus Mountain. The road was in very rough condition due to recent and ongoing heavy rains in the area. As a result, their 2001 Suzuki Vitara sustained heavy damage to its exhaust system and one of its tires rendering the vehicle inoperative.
The Yavapai County Search and Rescue Team (YCSRT) 4×4 unit responded and located the driver, his passenger and two dogs all in good health at approximately 6:30 PM. They moved the vehicle off the road, and transported victims safely to Camp Verde.
The Sheriff’s Office wants to remind travelers that a GPS by itself should not be trusted without question. While it may give you the shortest route in distance, it may not give you road conditions or changing conditions which may affect the safety of the route. A secondary source of information on the route such as maps advice from a resident in the area, or public safety personnel is always encouraged. Also, great care should be taken in traveling Forest roads and dirt roads in times of inclement weather.
On March 12, 2020 at approximately 5:00 PM, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Dispatch received a call about a group of Arizona State University Students who were hiking in the Sycamore Tank area in the Prescott National Forest. They were concerned about being able to leave the area due to flooding. The subjects had crossed the Verde river and could not get back across the river due to the rising water level. The hikers stated they were not in immediate danger and had food and water to last a few days.
On March 13th at approximately 7:30 AM, the Yavapai County Search and Rescue Team’s 4X4 unit was called out to rescue the hikers. At approximately 10:30 AM they located the hikers and transported them to safety in Cottonwood.
The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office urges people wishing to enjoy the outdoors to take into account current and future weather patterns and how that will affect the terrain they will encounter. Having exit strategies planned ahead of time is always a good practice. In this case, the risk was greatly reduced to these hikers because they brought with them the proper amount of food and resources to survive an extended period of time in the outdoors.