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Flash flood threat lingers over Waldo Canyon burn scar 5 years later

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COLORADO SPRINGS -

Nearly five years after the Waldo Canyon Fire tore through our area, the threat of flash flooding still remains.

Because of that, the City of Colorado Springs hosted a community meeting to address the ongoing threat for homeowners.

Jimmy Cooper watched as Camp Creek in front of his home filled with rushing flood water within seconds back in August of 2015.

"I think maybe another couple of feet and it would have overflowed," he said.

The debris from that flood water was coming from the Waldo Canyon burn scar.

"There's still a lot of debris that comes off in the form of rocks, boulders, decomposed granite, we're going to get a lot of vegetation which has died because of the fire which are going to come down these valleys," Brian Kelley, Engineering Programs Manager for the city said.

Even though it's been five years since the fire, the city says the threat of another flash flood near the burn scar still lingers.

"This is a big deal for us, we've got a threat mainly from the Waldo Canyon Fire burn scar. The water, the rain that falls up on the burn scar right now, still is a threat to the city," Gordon Brenner, Emergency Management Coordinator for the city's Office of Emergency Management said.

Cooper was one of dozens of homeowners that came to this flash flood preparedness meeting.

"You never know what could be said that you could pick up on that may save someone," he said.

In order to mitigate the risk, the city has been working on a number of stormwater projects along North Douglas Creek, South Douglas Creek and Camp Creek, all runoff areas from the burn scar.

"We have not let our guard down, ever since the Waldo Canyon Fire, we've had so many opportunities to do repairs and projects in order to prevent any more damage coming from the burn scar, as much as practical," Kelley said.

All lessons learned, Kelley says they are more prepared to handle flash floods now than they were five years ago.

"We have an operations and maintenance division which responds on the spot to any types of flooding concerns, our emergency operations center is fully functioning and everybody is prepared for this type of an event to occur," he said.

The City of Colorado Springs has created an Emergency Preparedness Manual for everyone which can be found here.

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