Bear Creek flash flood washes out road

Ash, dirt and debris flows out of the Bear Creek drainage area into the Arkansas River at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday. The peak of the flash flood was shortly before. 


Rainfall resulted in a flash flood and the resulting run-off from the burn scar of the Decker Fire washed out parts of CR 101 and Fremont County Road 49 along the Bear Creek drainage Sunday. 

Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze issued a flash flood warning at 7:20 p.m. 

As for residents in the Bear Creek Drainage, Spezze said everyone was accounted for and safe, and there wasn’t any reports of damage to homes.

Spezze said he spoke to one resident who had water all the way up to their home, but who said he didn’t feel there was a risk to the home.

Salida received 0.3 inches Friday, 0.36 inches Saturday and .27 inches on Sunday.

At approximately 1:30 p.m., the Arkansas River Wellsville gauge reported 844 cubic feet per second. At 8:15 p.m., the reading had jumped to 1,170 cfs.

Chaffee County Road and Bridge supervisor Mark Stacy closed CR 101 as, South Arkansas Fire Protection District Chief, Doug Bess checked on residents.

Fremont County also had authorities responding to the area.

Mark Wankowski, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Pueblo, said the NWS issued flash flood warnings for the area today, and that conditions for Monday and Tuesday will be similar. 

Wankowski said the monsoon moisture plume was in place over the central Rocky Mountains, and that recent rains have saturated the soils. 

Thundershowers and heavy rains are likely today and Tuesday as well, Wankowski said. Dryer air will be moving in Wednesday and Thursday as the monsoon moisture plume moves south.

Chaffee County Commissioner Greg Felt has been keeping an eye on the burn, and spoke with The Mountain Mail earlier in the day about the run-off Saturday.

Felt said there has been some black, ashen-laden water out of Bear Creek.

He said they have been monitoring this type of water due to its impact to water quality, and to places like Cañon City, who take their municipal water from down river.

Felt said that water quality will not be good for the fishery.

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