Canyon Creek residents gather to approve fire mitigation plan |

Canyon Creek residents gather to approve fire mitigation plan

John GardnerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

CANYON CREEK – About 20 residents that live along Canyon Creek Road near the scene of the June’s New Castle Fire gathered at the old Canyon Creek Schoolhouse Monday night to listen and approve mitigation plans to protect their homes.The preliminary mitigation plans developed by Bookcliff Conservation District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are designed to deflect water runoff in the burned areas that will drain onto or in the direction of residents’ homes. Mud flows could occur due to the unstable conditions created by the fire.”We’re dealing with the short-term solutions right now,” said Dennis Davidson with the NRCS. “We’ll deal with the long term later.”The NRCS developed individual site plans for each of the residents along Canyon Creek Road that were in apparent danger of mudslides and water runoff.Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said, “We want to have a plan in place before the rain comes, and we see more mud flow.”The NRCS is working in conjunction with the county to help the residents and private landowners in the area. The Bureau of Land Management is working on plans for the federal lands affected by the fire.”Our main concern is the immediate mitigation of the area,” said Karl Mendonca, supervisory natural resource specialist for the BLM.If residents approve the preliminary plans, the next step is to await funding approval from the county. Total preliminary estimates are around $212,000 combined for the federal and private lands, with about half going to the cost of each. However, the $106,000 used to aid the private landowners will cover only 75 percent of the cost. The other 25 percent will have to be donated by other entities or the residents.Davidson expects work to begin soon, but said that the NRCS is awaiting approval of funds before any actual work can be done. He said that Garfield County commissioners passed a motion on Monday approving concrete barriers to be transported to the area from Erie. Those barriers will be part of the 25 percent donated by the Colorado Division of Transportation.Contact John Gardner:

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