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Grand County handing out free sandbags to help prevent flooding from burn scar

Posted at 6:06 PM, May 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-03 20:06:31-04

GRAND COUNTY, Colo. — After a record-breaking wildfire in 2020, people living in Grand County need to prepare for something else this year: potential flooding.

"When a fire burns through a community, it burns up all the vegetation on the ground,"said Alexis Kimbrough, deputy director of the county's office of emergency management.

Areas near the East Troublesome Fire burn scar are like concrete right now, and they can't soak up any water, she said.

"Snowmelt, rain, any sort of precipitation just flows down," Kimbrough said.

To help with this, Serve 6.8, a nonprofit in Fort Collins, donated 1,700 sandbags to the county. They became available on Monday. Most of them could be found at the Grand Lake ball field across from the U.S. Post Office.

"It was something easy and simple for us to really step into again this year and help not only people from the Cameron fire, but obviously all the way up through Grand County," Serve 6.8 volunteer coordinator Ashlee Schmitt said. "We just really want to make sure families feel loved and are getting all the resources that they need."

Kimbrough says one of the neighborhoods most at risk and in need of these sandbags is the Columbine Lake area. The burn scar is just steps away from some homes there. A little bit of rain could potentially cause big problems.

"If it floods, the water is going to come in, and it's almost impossible to stop water from moving in," she said. "We're really just trying to educate our community on using the sandbags to put up the 'walls' and protect their properties before that risk happens."

In addition to the sandbags at the ball field, the county is giving free sand without a bag at the public works shop in Fraser and the fairgrounds in Kremmling.