Rain poses new danger for Waldo Canyon residents

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By Hendrik Sybrandy

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- This week's wet weather could pose a problem for some Colorado Springs residents. A flash flood watch is in effect for the Waldo Canyon burn area and some people who live nearby are taking precautions.

"I just want to be safe," said Jonathan Wuerth. "I got the sandbags and I figure I'll put 'em out for at least through some storms and kind of gauge if I need to keep 'em here."

Wuerth lives in the Pleasant Valley subdivision which is downstream from the burn area. He began stacking sandbags in front of his home last week and added more Tuesday night when the flood threat became apparent.

"I'm somewhat concerned but I still think it can't come all the way up to my house when I look around my neighborhood and I see all the lower places," he said.

Last June's fire stripped hillsides of vegetation and removed natural flood barriers from homes, many of which have been rebuilt.

"There isn't much landscape in yet so we've got a lot of potential for runoff and debris to flow down the hill here," said Marty Novak-Haynes, a Mountain Shadows resident.

Colorado Springs officials recently warned residents of the flooding potential during a public meeting.

"They scared a lot of us, I think," said Wuerth. "They didn't hold back at all and they said it's not a question of it, it's a question of when. And they made it sound like it could be pretty disastrous."

Still, Wuerth said, only a handful of residents have taken action to protect their homes.

"They don't realize the danger," he said. "They look here at this creek that's dry all the time and they don't that it could ever fill this whole creek bed up and the road up and come into their house."


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