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Volunteers help at-risk homes prepare for floods

By Emily Allen, Multimedia Journalist /Target 13 Investigator , emily.allen@krdo.com
Published On: Apr 14 2013 04:12:41 PM CDT
Updated On: May 06 2013 10:40:54 PM CDT

When it comes to flash floods the city of Colorado Springs director of Emergency Management says it's not a question of when it's a question of when.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Volunteers filled 12,000 sandbags on Saturday for homeowners in post-fire flood risk areas in Colorado Springs.

The City's Emergency Management Coordinator, Ken Hughlett, said loose boulders, trees and debris left in the Waldo Canyon Fire's wake could wreak havoc on homes in flash flood zones.

"Because of the burn, all the debris in the burn area is fairly loose. We're seeing boulders, large trees and debris sliding down the hill that's already come so far and we are concerned that's going to come into the city and into our neighborhoods," said Hughlett.

Nicole Frye lost her home in the Waldo Canyon Fire.

"To other people I may just be another volunteer, just as they are," said Frye.

She wanted to help residents whose homes could be damaged by flash floods.

"It feels so good to be out here and seeing all these people," said Frye. "I don't know who they are but it's awesome the community has come together to help everyone out there in Mountain Shadows."

Volunteers used 150 tons of sand to fill 12,000 sandbags. Cars of homeowners wanting sandbags stretched outside the parking lot at times. Hughlett said more homeowners turned out for this sandbagging event than they have in the past.

"It was very sobering to see the prediction of the flood zone," said Pleasant Valley resident Debbie Mitguard. "We are just at the edge of it so I figure we'll take a bunch of sandbags home. Hopefully we won't need them but our neighbors down the street will."

"These sandbags will give you a little extra time," said Hughlett.

He explained the bags won't necessarily save a home, but they will give residents enough time to get out safely.  Hughlett said it's not a question of if the floods will happen, it's a question of when they will happen.

"Because we are under water restrictions, the soil is even worse than it would be from the burn scar so there's a higher risk and there is some concern that we might actually have a wet year," said Hughlett.

The city's Office of Emergency Management created a map detailing post-fire flood information. Here is a link to the map:

http://fema.maps.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=50e4c4fdb5744aefb06889bb3c21286d&extent=-105.1277,38.8277,-104.7329,39.02

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