NewsLocal News


Forest lands closed, roads damaged after deadly flooding in Larimer County

Mother, daughter killed in Buckhorn Canyon flash floods
Poster image - 2022-07-17T100806.495.jpg
Posted at 3:51 PM, Jul 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-17 13:39:49-04

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — National Forest lands in Larimer County are temporarily closed after two people were killed in flash flooding in Buckhorn Canyon Friday.

All National Forest lands between Buckhorn, Glen Haven and the junction of Buckhorn Road and US Highway 34 are closed to the public until further notice, according to a Forest Service release.

A woman and a girl were killed in the flooding in the Buckhorn area. The mother and daughter, whose identities have not been released, were camping in a travel trailer along the creek when flood waters swept the trailer away, according to the Larimer County Sheriff's Office. No other injuries were reported.

The warning came Friday evening as the early arrival of monsoonal rain began pouring down over areas of the Cameron Peak burn scar. Up to two inches of rain fell per hour during the storm, according to the National Weather Service.

Forest lands closed, roads damaged after deadly flooding in Larimer County

Around 6:30 p.m., the sheriff's office urged residents in the area of Crystal Mountain to Wild Song to head for higher ground. A short time later, the sheriff's office said it was responding to multiple locations in the Buckhorn area.

"Last night’s cells provide a reminder of the devastating flash flooding potential over intense burn scar areas. In many areas, experience has taught us that seeking higher ground and/or sheltering in place is a better option than trying to perform rescues and extractions for residents during these fast and intense flooding events," Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said in a statement.

The extent of damage to the area from the flood waters is not fully known at this time. However, County Road 44H is closed from County Road 27 to County Road 63E due to several miles of road damage and at least one cabin in Crystal Mountain was destroyed, officials said Saturday.

road damage.png
Buckhorn Road was washed away in parts.

Authorities are urging travelers to use caution in areas impacted by the fires in 2020.

Larimer County residents are assessing the damage and working on clean-up efforts after Friday’s flood.

Denver7 spoke to Michael Markovich on his property off Miller Fork Creek as he surveyed the damage to his fence, bench, and pond. This will be the third time he will clean out his pond after flooding on his property, he said.

“It still brings up shock,” Markovich said. “You know, even a couple of rain drops anymore, your anxiety rises… it’s a lovely place when Mother Nature doesn’t cause havoc like this.”

The Forest Service is sending up a small team to assess the damage on National Forest lands and to support Larimer County in flood recovery, the release said.

Officials warned Saturday that flooding will continue in the future in burn scar areas as mitigation efforts continue.

“When we have a wildfire, the soil changes, and it’s no longer able to absorb the water like normal soil would for a little while after the fire,” said Lori Hodges, Director of Emergency Management for Larimer County. “It has to get some regrowth behind it. So, when water falls on it, it just flows right off.”

Larimer County officials said an estimate on the cost of damages could come Sunday. They do not expect it to reach the threshold for federal aid to become available.

Denver7's Rob Harris contributed to this report