Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Mudslides hit Croy Canyon

Burned areas receive heavy rain

Express Staff Writer

   Following heavy rains that pounded areas burned by the Beaver Creek Fire on Monday night, four mudslides slid across Croy Creek Road, and another damaged the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley.
    Blaine County Sheriff Gene Ramsey said one slide about half a mile west of the bridge over the Big Wood River in Hailey was about a foot and a half deep on the north side of the road and about 8 inches deep on the south side. Ramsey said the road was not entirely closed to traffic, though one car did get stuck when the driver tried to get through the slide in the westbound lane.
    At about 12:30 a.m., the county Road and Bridge Department placed warning signs at both ends of the slide and traffic cones to divert drivers away from the westbound lane. Road and Bridge Department Manager Tom Duffy said a bucket loader cleared the road at about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. He said the job took about an hour.


Mudslides are nothing to gamble with—they’re wet and heavy.”
Gene Ramsey
Blaine County sheriff

    Nadia Novik, operations manager for the animal shelter, said several small slides began on a hill to the east of the shelter, about a mile and a half up Croy Creek Road, converged not far above the shelter and slammed into about 10 outdoor kennels. She said no buildings were damaged, but the slide gouged out holes under the kennels’ fencing and covered the road behind the shelter.
    “When we came in this morning, we saw that many of the kennels had 6 to 8 inches of mud in them,” she said.
    Novik said that as always, no dogs had been left in the kennels overnight.
    Duffy said mud also slid onto the private portion of Greenhorn Road, west of the entry structure.
    Ketchum Ranger District Trails Crew Supervisor Blake Everson said he was not aware of any slides across Forest Service roads, but some culverts under upper Warm Springs Road were blocked by debris. He said that with thunderstorms forecast through Friday, “the chance exists that something could blow out.”
    Ramsey urged people who live in burned areas to be very cautious in rainy weather.
    “If we get some more rain, there will be more slides,” he said. “Mudslides are nothing to gamble with—they’re wet and heavy. People don’t live through [being buried in] mudslides.”
    A U.S. Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation Team assembled in Hailey on Tuesday to begin its assessment of conditions in the burned area. According to a news release from the Forest Service, its recommendations could include enlarging or unplugging culverts and removing structures that could block water flow, trap sediment or impact water quality.
    The BAER Team leader, Eric Schroder, said he anticipated that a preliminary assessment will be ready by the end of this week and that a final assessment will be done by Sept. 13. Prepared in cooperation with local agencies, a rehabilitation plan and a funding request will be submitted to the Forest Service’s Intermountain Region office in Ogden, Utah. It will be in competition with plans from other burned areas to receive funding.

Greg Moore:

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