RUSTIC, Colo. (CBS4) – One person is dead after rain over the burn scar from the Cameron Peak Fire flooded the Cache la Poudre River and caused mudslides. Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith confirmed the death in the area around the community of Rustic early Wednesday morning.
At least five structures were also damaged in Tuesday’s flash floods, as well as at least one bridge. A large amount of debris washed across Highway 14, which is now closed in the area south of Red Feather Lakes in Poudre Canyon. Some campers told CBS4 they saw large logs floating down the river.
COLORADO FLASH FLOOD HISTORY: More Than 530 Deaths Documented Since 1864
A mandatory evacuation order went out for people who live east of Rustic when the flash flooding started. Smith said some people didn’t get out of the area safely and that crews are now searching for at least two missing people. The search includes crews on foot and drones in the Black Hollow Road area.
The body of the adult female who died is near Arrowhead Lodge in a spot that’s hard to navigate and crews were set to try to recover the body for a second time on Wednesday. Divers will be attempting to recover the body of the deceased female and a passenger vehicle that is in the river.
Smith said “our deepest sympathy goes out to the yet-unidentified victim of this flooding and their family along with any other potential victims yet to be located.”
Highway 14 is closed west of Rustic to Cameron Pass as crews from the Colorado Department of Transportation work to clean up the road.
James Czarnecki told CBS4 the Cache la Poudre River went from being clear to having multiple feet of debris. He and a friend went from campground to campground warning dozens of people and anglers in the river.
“I was astounded at how fast the river went from being completely clear, a normal day on the river, to a condition to where there was bank-to-bank debris flow and the water had risen two-and-a-half feet in a matter of 15-20 seconds,” said Czarnecki. “I don’t think people understand how flash floods can work. This was the first one I had seen and I was astounded by it.”
A map of the affected area is at larimer.org/poudre-canyon-flooding.
LCSO set up a Joint Information Center for residents who are affected to call: 970-980-2500.
The American Red Cross opened an evacuation center at Cache La Porte Middle School.