MESA COUNTY, Colo. - Mesa County's administrator has signed a declaration of emergency after the West Salt Creek Mudslide near Collbran and, according to a county blog, expects the County Commissioners to ratify it at their meeting on Monday.
County Administrator Thomas C. Fisher's declaration reiterates the concerns expressed by Sheriff Stan Hilkey Tuesday that another slide may occur. Those fears caused the search for three men missing and presumed dead in the Sunday mudslide to be put on hold.
Fifty-one-year-old county road worker Clancy Nichols, his 24-year-old son Danny and 46-year-old Wes Hawkins have been missing since Sunday after a rain-saturated ridge collapsed.
Because of the danger in the area, the sheriff said teams may not be able to get on the slide until mid-summer.
The mudslide is estimated to be 2-to-3 miles long, at least three-quarters of a mile wide at the top, and about 250-feet deep, in many places. The surface area of the slide is estimated to be about 706 acres.
Fisher's declaration says the pooling of West Salt Creek headwaters poses a danger of flash flooding, debris flows and landslides. It seeks authorization to activate emergency plans and funds to "assess and monitor the conditions on the Grand Mesa National Forest that pose a hazard to approximately 100 structures, inhabitants, agriculture and energy infrastructure."