Flood risks facing Redstone, Lake Christine Fire burn scar area topics of upcoming meetings

Staff report
A picture of the landscape along Basalt Mountain Road on Oct. 18 showed how much of the vegetation in the area was lost in the Lake Christine Fire and the dirt hardened from the heat. That could contribute to flooding.
Aspen Times file

Two meetings will be held in the area in early June to discuss the flood risk posed by the melting of a much larger than average snowpack.

The first meeting will be held in Redstone on June 5 to discuss the potential for flooding of the Crystal River.

A second meeting will be held in El Jebel on June 10 to discuss the risk of flooding and debris flows coming from the Lake Christine Fire burn scar.

The June 5 meeting in Redstone will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Redstone Fire Station. Officials from Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District, Pitkin County Emergency Management and the Colorado Department of Transportation will discuss the threat of runoff and flooding in the Redstone area.

“With the increased snowpack and delayed runoff, there is concern about flooding in Redstone and the Crystal River Valley,” said a news release from the Carbondale Fire Department. “Join us to talk about the threat, how you can prepare and ask questions.”

Emergency management officials in Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties are concerned about the potential for flooding and debris flows in the midvalley this year. They will hold a meeting June 10 at 6 p.m. in the Eagle County office building adjacent to Crown Mountain Park to discuss the risk and how to be prepared.

“The precipitation, coupled with the burn scar, warmer temperatures and above-average snowpack, is expected to produce a faster and heavier runoff period,” said a news release from the agencies.

“Wildfires result in a loss of vegetation and leave the ground charred and unable to absorb water,” the release continued. “This creates conditions for flooding. Even areas that are not traditionally flood-prone are at risk of flooding for up to several years after a wildfire.”

Residents near the Lake Christine burn scar area, regardless of the county they live in, are strongly encouraged to register for Pitkin Alert. When the National Weather Service issues a flash flood warning in the Lake Christine burn scar areas, Pitkin Alert will send out notifications to users who have registered for the weather alerts at Registered users of EC Alert also will receive notifications.