Basalt regroups Monday after flash floods as some residents deal with mud, rocks
Residents of the Basalt area afflicted by Sunday’s flash floods and mud slides were regrouping on a sunny Monday morning cleaning mud and debris from their yards and driveways.
One of the trigger points for the floods was at Pinon and Cedar drives, an area above Basalt from where the initial 911 calls were placed at approximately 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
Keith McDougal’s Sopris Avenue home is located below what he said is called “drainage zero,” an area prone to floods and slides. McDougal was cleaning up debris and mud from his eroded driveway Monday morning, as other neighbors were assessing and cleaning their properties.
“Pinon and Cedar was where the problem started. It flowed down Cedar, hit a point here up at the curve and came down this drainage,” he said, pointing uphill from his driveway.
McDougal said he and others did some “game-time fixes” by diverting the water flow by his property.
The flash flooding resulted in resident evacuations as well as road closures. There were no reported injuries, authorities said.
All of the roads, including the Frying Pan — where 10 vehicles had been stuck Sunday and later removed — had reopened to traffic by Monday. Pinon and Cedar drives, as well as Two Rivers Road, also had been closed. Two Rivers Road opened late Sunday; Pinon and Cedar opened Monday morning.
Crews also on Monday determined the floods had not damaged the integrity of roads and bridges, said Birch Barron, Eagle County emergency manager.
Structural damage to the residences in the affected area appeared to be limited, according to Barron.
“We believe there were less than 10 private residences with debris in or around structures, and for the majority of those structures, the debris was in nonresidential spaces — garages and basement and property surrounding that,” he said.
The county had not received any reports of residences being inhabitable, Barron noted.
The evacuation zone impacted about 30 residences; however, a number of individuals couldn’t evacuate because of dangerous road conditions, Barron said.
Sunday’s response was a collaborative effort among Eagle and Pitkin counties, the town of Basalt, area law enforcement and emergency response teams, as well as state and federal agencies, Barron said.
The flow out of Ruedi Reservoir was increased Monday by 50 cubic feet per second to help clear up the Fryingpan River, which had taken on a muddy hue from the flood’s debris and sediment.
“This should be a big help toward protecting fish and river health,” said Kris Widlak, Eagle County’s director of communications.
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A report released this month by the Center for Colorado River Studies says that in order to sustainably manage the river in the face of climate change, officials need alternative management paradigms and a different way of thinking compared with the status quo. Estimates about how much water the Upper Colorado River Basin states will use in the future are a problem that needs rethinking, according to the white paper.