Reports of flash flooding in the High Park burn area

Lightning splinters 60-foot tree on CSU campus

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. - Flash flooding brought debris and mud down toward Stove Prairie from the High Park Fire burn area on Friday afternoon.

The debris involved was washed off of Mt. Ethel and spilled down toward the Stove Prairie area, which is 10 miles west of Bellvue.

The National Weather Service said the first report of flooding came from a weather spotter who watched mud and debris flow around both sides of their home and a barn.

One or one-and-one-half inches of rain fell over the burn area by 3:09 p.m. Up to one additional inch was possible.

Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bob Gann told 7NEWS that the rain was some of the worst he's seen hit the burn area since the fire.

"There's been a lot of work done on the culverts by the county and that made a major difference," said Gann. "If we had the culverts we had last year, we would have been in much worse shape."

Rist Canyon Road was closed because of the flooding. Ford Hill Road was also closed at Stove Prairie.

"It's amazing how fast the water can come up," said Gann. "I was in a driveway about a mile up the road and what is normally a 10-foot ditch was at road level, so I had a 10-foot stream where normally a little trickle is."

7NEWS Meteorologist Matt Makens said the heavy rain could cause mud and ash slides into the early evening.

The flash flood warning for the eastern part of Larimer County expired at 5:30 p.m.

At 7:30 p.m., the Larimer County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the only damage was mud and debris on the roadways.

The High Park fire started June 9, 2012 and burned 87,284 acres. The cause was determined to be a lightning strike that hit a tree.

Meanwhile, 10 miles from the flooded roadway, lightning struck down a large tree in the Colorado State University annual flower trial garden.

"Holy crap, that's really insane because that's a 60-foot tree," said Justin Little, who heard the tree go down from two blocks away.

"All of a sudden a flash lit up the living room and the thunder roll went on for about four or five seconds and then at the end of it, there's a really loud crack and boom," said Little.

Police taped off the area around the tree, while hundreds of Fort Collins residents came by to snap photos and take home some of the many pieces of tree that splintered off.

Print this article Back to Top