Efforts continue all across the Waldo Canyon burn scar to help reduce the effects of flooding. Colorado Springs Utilities expects to wrap up initial work in the Northfield Watershed on Rampart Range within the next month or so. But Project Manager Kim Gortz with Utilities says it’s really an ongoing effort.
"Hayman’s still seeing issues 10 years post-fire, so I think we’re starting in our planning phase as far as what do we do for long-term restoration, what do we do for monitoring each time we have a monsoon season."
Local Freelance Photojournalist Bryan Oller took some of the most memorable photos of the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires, and he’s been covering the flooding in Manitou. I spoke with him about the challenges of documenting disasters so close to home.
While Manitou Springs authorities celebrated finding one survivor, another Manitou flood victim, 49-year-old Laura Hunter, told reporters Monday at Penrose Hospital she’s thrilled to be alive. KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports.
Hunter was in her small cottage in the 500 block of Canon Ave. when water started quickly pouring into her living room.
Flash flood watches and warnings peppered the weekend in the Pikes Peak region, with skies darkening ominously as thunder and rain rolled in each afternoon. Last night’s warning was canceled early, and Highway 24 and Manitou Springs were spared a repeat of Friday’s devastating flooding.
Update: 11:20PM: The El Paso County Sheriff's Office is reporting the body of an adult man has been found along Highway 24 near mile marker 297. They report the body was buried under a significant amount of debris along the westbound lanes of the highway. No identification is available at this time.
10:25 PM: Highway 24 is now reopened, with one lane in each direction.
Sandbags will be available to homeowners facing impacts from potential flash flooding in and near the Waldo Canyon burn scar. They'll be given away free at the Verizon Wireless building on Garden of the Gods Road from 8 - 2 Saturday. The sand comes from last week's Olympic Downtown Celebration and its sand volleyball pit.
Colorado Springs and El Paso County officials have released updated flood maps for areas in and near the Waldo Canyon burn scar. The maps detail expected flood effects after one-hour rainfall amounts of a half-inch up to two inches of rain. The assessments assumed debris in floodwaters would cause blockages at street crossings. Maps include Ute Pass, Manitou Springs, and Fountain Creek. Douglas Creek maps have not yet been updated. There’s a preparedness meeting tonight at six for residents and businesses along Fountain Creek at Al Kaly Shrine.
Forecasters say the storm over the Waldo Canyon burn scar yesterday that produced flash flooding through Williams Canyon was quick-moving and dropped six-tenths of an inch of rain in about 15 minutes. KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin has more.
Manitou Springs city officials were quick to praise education efforts and first-responder cooperation, but Police Chief Joe Ribeiro acknowledged the city’s warning siren didn’t work correctly.
Though wildfires have been definitively connected to climate change, megafires in the West haven’t shifted public opinion as drastically as environmentalists might hope.
Researchers have found that repeated wildfires in the same region do tend to shift public opinion about climate change, so with back to back summers of megafires the Pikes Peak region may see greater interest in the effects of increased warming.
The devastating 2002 wildfire season generated public discussion about the need for treatments to fix our dangerously overgrown forests. A decade later, the Front Range has been hit with consecutive record-setting fire seasons, which has a lot of Colorado residents wondering why more of that treatment hasn’t happened. In this story that originally aired in April, KRCC’s Michelle Mercer looks into the status of forest treatment on the Front Range.
The Black Forest Fire destroyed over 500 homes, leaving those homeowners with a difficult decision: should they rebuild? Back in April, KRCC’s Michelle Mercer talked to some Waldo Canyon Fire victims about the tough choices they’ve made.
Since this piece aired in April, rebuilding permits have trickled in: now 198 permits have been issued, or about 57% of the Waldo Canyon Fire victims.