An icy road is preventing water trucks from reaching a Navajo community whose only water source has been severed.
The tractor-trailers tried to reach Navajo Mountain in southeast Utah on Thursday and Friday, but about 35 miles of the lone road into Navajo Mountain remains impassable, said Bruce Adams, San Juan County Commission chairman.
Adams said he is "pretty confident" the semis will reach Navajo Mountain on Saturday, but said the county is considering alternatives if the water doesn't arrive.
"If that plan fails [Saturday], we will begin to evacuate and try to get those people somewhere they can have the water," Adams said.
Adams said the county has talked with the state of Utah about using National Guard helicopters to evacuate the community, though Adams said no plan has been finalized. Census data says about 380 people live in Navajo Mountain. But Adams said community leaders have told him as many as 1,200 people may live there.
The community still has some water, Adams said, but the supply is dwindling.
Navajo Mountain receives its water from one mountain side spring, but wildfires have damaged the watershed, creating mud slides. Adams said the officials believe one of those slides disabled the water line recently and severed the community's water.
It may take weeks to find the leak or kink, Adams said, and this week the county declared an emergency for Navajo Mountain.
San Juan County has been trying to send equipment to the road, but distance -- It's a three-hour trip from Blanding to Navajo Mountain -- and snowfall elsewhere in the county have hampered efforts.
Adams said two semis slid off the road on Friday and were waiting for heavy equipment to arrive and put them back on the pavement.
Adams said the Bureau of Indian Affairs declined to offer assistance, saying its employees could not work during the weekend. A bureau office in Arizona did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Friday night.
The Arizona Department of Transportation has sent plows and sand truck, Adams said. The Navajo Nation also has dispatched a water truck, he said.