By Jeff Todd
BASALT, Colo. (CBS4) – Residents around the Lake Christine Fire near Basalt are pitching in to help emergency personnel and meteorologists continue to keep the community safe from continued threats.
“Everybody was focused on the fire for a long time. Now, we’re worried about the results from the fire. The runoff from the mountain, what will happen to the rivers,” said Jeanne Wilder at the National Weather Service Spotter training.
“They need ground trothing all the time to help them verify what they’re seeing on their screens in Grand Junction,” aid Eagle County Emergency Manager Barry Smith.
The idea is to grow a network of weather watches around the burn area because right now the 13,000 charred acres are a years-long threat for mudslides.
“As emergency planners we need to have that information, so we can make informed decisions on what we’re going to do when the water does come.”
The southern Elk Mountains presents a blind spot for the Grand Junction weather radar so storm information approaching Basalt is limited. Spotters can help forecasters know what’s happening in real-time.
“I think we’re a close knit community and we want what’s best for our environment,” said Wilder.
Smith says a storm over the weekend dropped about a quarter of an inch, anything more could present real problems.
“When we hit that we don’t know what’s going to happen. Every fire is different. We know it will probably flood. We just don’t know how bad, how fast, and what that threshold is for that flooding,” Smith said. “It’s really a lot of unknowns what’s going to happen, but we want to prepare for the worst case scenario.”
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.