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Waterfall at Havasupai

Havasu Falls is one of four major waterfalls along Havasu Creek on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. 

Monsoon-related flash flooding that hit the Havasupai village of Supai on Wednesday and Thursday have forced the closure of the popular Grand Canyon destination to visitors for at least a week.

Dozens of people who were staying at the campground just downstream from the tribal village had to evacuate due to the flooding, but so far none of the 200 tourists who were in the canyon at the time have been reported missing or seriously injured, according to a spokeswoman who works for the tribe. 

The first 7-foot wall of water hit Supai shortly before dark on Wednesday, triggering tribal officials to evacuate the campground, according to spokeswoman Abbie Fink. Some people had to leave without grabbing their gear and backpacks. 

Hours later, at about 3:30 a.m., another wave of flooding hit the village.

The campground is often filled with hundreds of visitors who travel to Supai to see the canyon's turquoise waterfalls. Many who were evacuated spent Wednesday night in the tribe's community center and school. 

The café in Supai is open, and electricity and water services are working in the village, as are cell services. While the waves of flood waters did not hit the village, recent rain has caused some significant flooding in several buildings, according to Fink. 

The Tribal Council has closed Havasu Canyon to visitors for the next seven to 10 days. 

The tribe is asking that tourists with confirmed reservations for the coming weeks contact their travel advisor for more information. All phone lines are being used for emergency services, so members of the public should not try to contact the Tribal Tourism Office at this time.

Indian Route 18, which leads to the Havasupai Reservation, is closed until further notice.

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Emery Cowan can be reached at (928) 556-2250 or ecowan@azdailysun.com

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Environment, Health and Science Reporter

Emery Cowan writes about science, health and the environment for the Arizona Daily Sun, covering everything from forest restoration to endangered species recovery efforts.

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