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Debris piles up in home, sludge fills homes, after Poudre Canyon flood

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POUDRE CANYON, Colo. (KDVR) — Property owners along Black Hollow Road described the terror of watching flash floods ravage the area.

Around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, heavy rains over the Cameron Peak burn scar caused a mudslide and debris flow near Black Hollow Road. Five homes were washed away and several more suffered significant damage, as did the bridge leading to the development.

“We watched it. We saw it come down and take out both these houses. We were here on the bridge when it happened. If we’d been 30 seconds earlier we would have been under those rocks,” Barbara Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson and her family have owned a home on Black Hollow Road for the past 31 years. They live in Missouri but use it as a vacation home each summer. They had just arrived to their property for the first time in 2021 — seconds before their neighbors’ homes were washed away.

“It was just like a horror movie. It was 10 feet tall. It had all of these logs, boulders, and it was black and it was rolling really, really fast,” she said.

Her home is still standing, but it has what she describes as four feet of mud and black sludge inside.

“Seriously, I am just so happy to be alive,” Wilkerson said. “I keep thinking about the neighbors we’ve lost.”

“They’re friends. They’re all friends. I’ve known them most of my life,” Bond said. “I’ve known a lot of them that long, and to have to tell them call them up today and tell them that their house is no longer here.”

‘It’s completely different now’

In his 60 years living in Poudre Canyon, lifelong Poudre Canyon resident and volunteer firefighter Dan Bond said he never imagined a disaster so devastating.

“I grew up here, so I know this area like the back of my hand. But it’s completely different now,” Bond said.

The water carried dozens of large logs and downed trees through the properties.

“Got to a point where I could see the creek, and it was 3 times wider than it’s ever been and rushing probably 5 or 6 feet deep,” Bond said.

Twice last year, the Cameron Peak fire threatened the same homes that were destroyed in the flash flood. According to Bond, the fire line in September came within 20 feet of a home.

“It sounds horrible, but I would almost rather to have lost it last year in the fire,” he said. “Everything survived, and now to have this happen, it’s like — you know, mother nature, what did we do to piss you off?”

Cleanup has already begun as crews are now working to removed downed trees from the Black Hollow Road bridge. According to Bond, they will also need to rebuild the road past the bridge, because it was washed away, too.

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