Published August 05, 2013
MONUMENT, Colo. – People who live in an area near Colorado Springs that saw the most destructive wildfire in state history are trying to figure out how to get home after a road collapsed, leaving a wide chasm on their main route.
The washout Sunday was the latest in a series of floods that have swept away cars and blocked highways across Colorado over the past few months.
El Paso County road crews said they are working on a temporary fix on the rural road about 10 miles northeast of Colorado Springs. They said every time it has rained since the Black Forest Fire, they've checked the road because they feared it would collapse. It's unknown how many people are affected, but no injuries have been reported.
The fire, which started June 11, burned more than 14,000 acres, destroyed 488 homes and killed two people. It was the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history.
"I could hear concrete crushing and moving, and finally the whole thing just collapsed," Black Forest homeowner Jim McKelvey said.
Diane Ketels' home is on the road that got washed out, and she got stuck on the opposite side of the 30-foot gap. Neighbors also had to find other ways to get home, KKTV-TV reported Monday (http://tinyurl.com/owrzha8 ).
"You're stuck. What are you going to do? We're going to try and find another access through one of our neighbors' backyards or something like that. It's the only thing we can do," Ketels said.
Residents said once the water started flowing over the road, it took just a few minutes before it gave way.
Flooding has been a statewide concern after more than a half inch of rain fell in less than 20 minutes July 1, causing mud to flow into 20 houses in Manitou Springs and western Colorado Springs because of a wildfire last year. At least three homes were total losses, and at least 11 vehicles were damaged. The downpour closed U.S. 24 for several hours.
Two mudslides temporarily closed a 14-mile stretch of Colorado 14 northwest of Fort Collins last month after rain pelted an area burned by the High Park Fire last year. Firefighter Tony Falbo said drivers were stranded between the slides for a short time.
In June, the U.S. Agriculture Department provided the state with nearly $20 million to repair watersheds and mitigate flood potential by using mulching, reseeding and shoring up water channels.
Information from: KKTV-TV, http://www.kktv.com/