BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– Flood mitigation efforts are underway in burn scar areas across Colorado as heavy rains have sent mud across roads and into streams this week as the monsoon season got underway. Fires last year destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres of vegetation that normally absorbs the rain.
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Helicopters brought in by Boulder County are now removing trees damaged by the CalWood Fire in Heil Valley Ranch Park off of Lefthand Canyon and turning them into mulch which is strategically dropped on the burn scar.
Sharla Benjamin, an engineer and project manager for Boulder County showed CBS4’s Rick Sallinger what they are doing, “The mulch that we have put on the landscape is to absorb the impact of the rainfall as it comes down onto the soil.”
This past Sunday a three-foot-high wall of water came down from the burn scar into Lefthand Creek. From there it can travel into Longmont’s water system.
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Benjamin surveyed the aftermath saying, “We want to protect the structures that we have from these flash flood events that are coming down from the rain events that fall in the burn scar.”
And burn it did, last October the CalWood Fire destroyed more than 10,000 acres outside of Boulder. The cause remains undetermined, but it left behind an eerie forest of blackened trees. At the Boulder County emergency operations center eyes are on the screens to pass along information to first responders.
Andrew Notbohm, the deputy manager of the county’s disaster response says information can be critical, “Help them in closing roads, having people shelter in place, putting it out for public messaging.”
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Due to the threat of flooding the Heil Valley Ranch park will remain closed until the end of September.