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Mud, fire debris swamps Highway 24

By Joe Dominguez, Multimedia Journalist - Pueblo Chieftain Bureau , j.dominguez@krdo.com
Published On: Aug 01 2012 10:09:20 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 22 2012 01:58:52 PM CDT

Scarred and saturated land in the Waldo Canyon burn area caused traffic problems along Highway 24 Wednesday evening.

CASCADE, Colo. -

Scarred and saturated land in the Waldo Canyon burn area caused traffic problems along Highway 24 Wednesday evening.

Mud and debris flowed into the road between Cascade and Green Mountain Falls. It reduced four lanes of traffic to one, leaving State Troopers in charge of directing both east and westbound cars across the open lane. No injuries were reported.

"It was completely flooding and coming down from the small storm," said Melissa Martin, who lives near Woodland Park. "People were having to go into the one lane and go really slow through the area."

Martin said the mud wasn't moving fast but could tell it was dangerous.

"When it's going slower, you can still see debris coming down with it," said Martin. "Further up the road I saw a bunch of trees get taken down and take down a trailer."

Martin said the mud was significant, with sludge coming up halfway on the door panel of most sedans she saw on the road.

A spokesman for the ongoing Waldo Canyon Fire fight said even light rains can bring mud and debris down the mountain.

"It can be much much larger than you anticipate," said Rob Deyerberg, with the U.S. Forest Service.

He said the public should be ready to protect homes and property from even heavier mud and debris flows, and be ready to evacuate to higher ground if the heavy rain settles on the area.

"All it takes is a big thunder cell in the right place in the right time and it would go beyond the expectations of people down there," said Deyerberg.

The Waldo Canyon Fire remains 100 percent contained but is still burning. The fire sparked June 23, killed two people and destroyed 346 homes in Colorado Springs.

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