Property destroyed and a life threatened during Custer County flash flood

Posted at 7:00 PM, Jul 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-19 21:00:20-04

The flash flooding in Custer County, Colorado did far more damage than rocks and mud closed roads. People caught in the flooding report life threatening situations and massive damage to property.

The flash flooding happened on the Junkins Fire burn scar. Boulders and trees and rocks coming down," said Kathi Thomas. Her family owns several hundred acres of mountain property off Highway 165.  Part of their land burned in the fire. Above their land there is also burned Forest Service and BLM land.

The Thomas’ knew there was a flood threat after the fire. What happened with this week’s storm is beyond what the imagined. “We never thought that the rest of our green property would be damaged,” said Thomas, “The earth is just kind of leaving here and going elsewhere.”

"It’s just a matter of time before if something’s not done that somebody dies," said Jack Thomas. This flash flood also brings an incident of threat to life. It happened just down the street from the Thomas property. A truck wedged under and into the trunk a tree is part of a near miss situation. The Thomas heard what happened while checking to make sure their neighbors were okay after the storm. Kathi was told a man instinctively wanted to move the truck from rising flood waters. “The truck started moving and he jumped in the back to try to get into the truck and then got pinned between some trees and his truck and he’s lucky to be alive." The water went from inches to feet in seconds.

The Thomas’ have done extensive flood mitigation on the part of their property that burned. Further up on forest service and BLM land there is also mitigation work in place. They say this storm shows more work is needed.