SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — As a record avalanche season slowly comes to an end across Colorado, the state’s Department of Transportation is warning hikers to be on the lookout for un-exploded avalanche ordnance.
CDOT says so far this winter, they’ve deployed 1,500 ordnance across the state.
Twenty-two of those failed to explode and were recorded as duds.
“There’s a chance someone could come up on an un-exploded ordnance,” says Tracy Trulove. “Our team is tracking where those un-exploded ordnances are, but you may come up on them before we do.”
Trulove says the ordnance look like small torpedoes and are brightly colored.
“They’re either yellow, blue or orange,” she says. “It’s probably something that shouldn’t be in nature.”
Trulove says if you do find one, keep a safe distance and contact law enforcement.
“It’s an explosive, so you definitely don’t want to do anything to move it,” she says. “A lot of times, it is just a dud and nothing will occur, but you want a team of trained professionals to detonate or disarm the explosive.”
CDOT says the performed mitigation work in places they haven’t touched in decades, so the ordnance could be practically anywhere where avalanche mitigation work was done. That could include hiking trails on both sides of the Continental Divide, like Herman Gulch.
Trulove says some of the devices may be hidden under snow and invisible until much later during the summer.
CDOT is still performing additional avalanche mitigation work, so that 22 figure could grow before the end of the season.