Flash flood watch issued for Lake Christine Fire burn area; ‘heavy rainfall’ predicted Sunday afternoon

Staff reports
Watches and warnings issued Sunday.
National Weather Service

Concerns over “persistent and heavy rainfall” Sunday afternoon in the Basalt area have caused the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood watch for the area around the Lake Christine Fire burn scar.

The NWS office in Grand Junction issued the watch for noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

“The potential for heavy rainfall over the Lake Christine burn scar is of particular concern due to the threat of debris flows and flash flooding,” according to the watch issued Sunday morning. “Residents near this wildfire burn scar and north of the Highway 82 corridor near Basalt and El Jebel should prepare for potential flooding impacts.”

On Aug. 4, a storm that stalled over the southern third of the burn area on Basalt Mountain triggered flash flooding that damaged roads and caused minor damage to homes near old town Basalt. It dropped nearly 1.5 inches of rain in a few hours.

It was the most significant flooding since the fire that started July 3, 2018, and burned more than 12,500 acres on Basalt Mountain.

The weather outlook Sunday for western Colorado calls for widespread showers and thunderstorms as a “strong disturbance” moves over the area.

“Persistent and occasionally heavy rainfall may result in flash flooding or debris flows from recent burn scars, in particular, the Lake Christine and 416 Fire (near Durango) burn scars,” the NWS forecast Sunday morning. “In addition, strong outflow winds associated with thunderstorms could gust as high as 50 mph.”

The Sunday forecast for Basalt predicts a high near 78 degrees and a 60% chance for heavy precipitation in the afternoon, mainly between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

There is a 30% chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms in the evening, mainly before 8 p.m., according to NWS.

This is a developing story that will be updated.