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Evacuation alert level increased at Collbran landslide site

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MESA COUNTY, Colo. — Authorities on the Western Slope have increased the evacuation alert level at the site of the 2014 West Salt Creek landslide near Collbran because of increased spring runoff.

The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office said Friday it has initiated a Level Two response to its emergency preparedness action plan, telling residents to be prepared to evacuate.

A pond at the area of the landslide released water and cut a new drainage channel late Thursday afternoon, the sheriff’s office said.

“Mesa County Sheriff deputies are contacting people who live nearby,” in addition to automated emergency phone calls, the county said in a news release. “Road and bridge equipment is being staged in Collbran as well as thousands of sand bags in the event flooding becomes an issue.”

The 2.8-mile West Salt Creek landslide on the Grand Mesa was triggered on May 25, 2014. Three men were killed.

The sheriff’s office said an initial water surge made it through Collbran without overflowing the banks of Plateau Creek on Thursday. No land movement has been detected.

“Right now the landslide is doing what we want and expect it to do,” the sheriff’s office said. “However, if Mother Nature decides to take more land down, we want residents to be ready to evacuate.”

A team will fly over the area and conditions will continue to be monitored.

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