The Pueblo West View
canon city

Hit hard by fire and rain

Months after Royal Gorge Fire, residents deal with deluge

CANON CITY — From fire to rain, residents here have seen it all in just three months.

The June 11 Royal Gorge Fire burned 3,162 acres of forest and leveled 48 buildings at the Royal Gorge Bridge. Exactly three months after the start of the fire, the deluge of rain hit.

It’s been a long time since residents here have seen flooded streets but between 3 and 5 inches of rain Wednesday and Thursday left many North Canon areas underwater.

According to Fremont County Commissioner Ed Norden, who mans the National Weather Service cooperative rain gauge at KRLN-Radio, 3.40 inches of rain fell between 7 a.m. Wednesday and 7 a.m. Thursday, with 1.2 inches coming in a very short time span early Thursday. Callers reported rainfall in their gauges reaching as high as 5 inches.

Year-to-date rainfall is 11.60 inches, which is very close to the annual average with three and a half months to go, Norden said.

In North Canon, the Orchard Avenue detention pond, which was completed in late-1997, couldn’t keep up with the rainfall and still-running irrigation ditches in the area didn’t help. The detention pond was built after heavy flooding in August 1991 and August 1996.

“In my opinion, they made the outlet pipe in the detention pond too big and it’s letting out too much water too fast. We made some of our own dirt berms but they are not working,” Trujillo said.

Luckily the water was not flowing inside her house but Trujillo admitted to being very frustrated.

“The worst thing is not the water, it’s the mud that is left and the smell,” she said.

Canon City Street Supervisor Tony Falgien said he believes the detention basin is working like it is supposed to, but debris pushing against grates in culverts is to blame for the backup of water and overspill. He said affected streets included Central, which reopened Thursday afternoon, Pear and East Main at Rhoades.

“There is no major damage just some basements flooded, mud and lots and lots of debris. In one area we cleaned out six dump truck loads — there were weeds, branches, pieces of culvert and railroad ties,” Falgien said.

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The Pueblo West View