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Huerfano County prepares for potentially major flooding

Posted: 9:59 PM, Mar 06, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-07 00:16:00-05

HUERFANO COUNTY – Residents in Huerfano County are preparing for the worst as major flooding could hit the region this year due to the huge burn scar left by the 2018 Spring Creek Fire.

A flood preparedness meeting was held Wednesday night at the Fox Theatre in Walsenburg with dozens of people attending to find out what steps they need to take to get ready for potential flooding.

Officials are warning – whatever you thought you knew about flooding think again.

John Galusha, county administrator for Huerfano County, said, “The burn severity is the highest burn severity recorded in a fire in the United States ever.”

Last summer’s Spring Creek Fire may be over, but the damage it left behind is going to rear its ugly head in the coming months.

Galusha said, “We know that we’re going to have extreme runoff so it’s going to be 7-15 times higher than our average runoff.”

Thousands of homes in Huerfano County could be flooded either by rapid snow melt or monsoon season. The soil in this area was burned so deep during the Spring Fire that it will actually repel water.

Galusha said, “We’re planning for the worst.”

That being said, the county is trying to get the word out to as many people as possible.

Galushsa is advising people to “have some place to go, have a flood buddy…get your valuables out of the flood potential…if you’ve got heirlooms go take them to storage, take them to a relative’s house.”

Joy Bomer is already working on a game plan.

“I’m going to get flood insurance…I’m going to replace all my basement windows…I’m going to have plywood cut to fit the windows…sand bags…have a bug out bag and ready to leave with my pets and I if it gets bad.”

While she said the thought of an impending disaster is disconcerting, she’s going to take the best precautions she can with her house, pray, and hope for the best.

Galusha said some sand bag training will happen in Huerfano County in the coming weeks.

Other things to be aware of when it comes to flooding – power lines can be wiped out so be prepared to go off the grid for several days if that happens. Also, never attempt to drive in a flood. Turn around. Don’t drown.