Residents clean up after Utah mudslide forces homes to evacuate; no injuries or major damage

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Residents and officials cleaned up Friday after a Utah mudslide led to the evacuation of 14 homes and sent a couple of feet of sludge into one basement.

Heavy rains unleashed the torrent of mud Thursday night in Woodland Hills, a small town nestled in foothills 60 miles south of Salt Lake City. Residents needing essentials were escorted to and from their houses in the town of about 1,500 people.

There didn't appear to be any structural damage, and in two cases, the mud bypassed homes and instead flowed through yards, said Lt. Tom Hodgson of the Utah County Sheriff's Office. There were no reports of injuries.

Mayor Steve Lauritzen said he hopes people can return to their homes by the afternoon, even as authorities closely watch forecasts of more rain in the area.

"Our concern is that it will happen again," he said.

Lauritzen and authorities planned to get a better view of the mountainside by helicopter to understand why the earth gave way and whether another slide can be prevented.

"There's no easy way to get up there and take a good look," he said of the heavy vegetation and steep slope.

Initially Thursday, residents of 11 houses were told to leave but the number eventually rose to 14, Lauritzen said.