LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — Forest fires have left several areas in Colorado’s mountains with burn scars, which can lead to excessive run off and flooding when large amounts of rain fall.
Nearly a year after Denver7 reported on deadly flash floods that submerged many properties in Larimer County near the Cameron Peak Fire burn scar, we followed up to see how residents are faring. Many told us they have spent thousands of dollars on flood mitigation, adjusting to their new normal.
Larimer County residents assess and clean up after deadly flash flood
Michael Markovich, whom we spoke with last year after his property flooded, has installed a $5,000 concrete barrier along the banks of the creek that runs through his property. The investments of himself and his neighbors have so far proven successful, he said.
“Last night, we had a torrential rain and thunder and lightning storm — and Miller Creek rose about nine inches last night,” Markovich said. “Last year, if that would have happened, we would be standing in water right here.”
Neighbor Barb Blue said she has spent about $25,000 on repairs to her property, and with the installation of her own concrete barriers and a bridge over Miller Creek enforced with steel.
“The last two years have been really bad — 24 flash floods in the last two years,” Blue said. “When we started seeing the water turn black from the fire from the Cameron Peak [burn scar], we knew we were in trouble… I just hope we can keep from flash flooding for the rest of the year.”
Flash floods are part of life for those living near Cameron Peak Fire burn scar
Up to eight inches of rain has fallen in the western parts of Larimer County since May 1, according to the Colorado Climate Center. Short, intense bursts of precipitation are more likely to lead to flooding issues near burn scars, which will be a continued risk the Colorado Climate Center will be monitoring this summer.
As they tend to their mountain homes, both Markovich and Blue find themselves on alert anytime they hear rain or thunder outside their windows. Still, they each said they love their homes too much to leave.
“You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do — and I intend to stay here,” Blue said. “I just can’t leave this place.”