Hinsdale County UCG Flood Risk Update June 15, 2019

Hinsdale County and the Town of Lake City faced many challenges while responding to the threat of flooding resulting from abundant snowpack and unprecedented avalanche activity along the Henson Creek and Lake Fork river. Working together, and with the support of the State of Colorado, Bureau of Land Management, National Resource and Conservation Services, and other organizations, Hinsdale County and the Town of Lake City have accomplished a great deal in a short time. The following is a brief sample of their many accomplishments.

Heavy equipment was brought in to remove debris and haul it out of the area to reduce the risk of debris flows. The amount of debris and the corresponding threat has been dramatically reduced.

The Colorado Department of Natural Resources was tasked with evaluating dam safety. With local partners, they determined that the Ute-Ulay dam did not pose a significant risk. However, the Hidden Treasure dam had the potential to become blocked, hold water, and then fail, creating a substantial debris flow. It was recommended that the dam be removed. Contractors began deconstruction, but as the work progressed it was determined that the risk to the community could be mitigated while preserving a portion of the historic Hidden Treasure dam for future generations.

Colorado Department of Transportation evaluated bridges in the affected area. Heavy equipment has been and will continue to be used to remove debris and prevent them from collecting at bridges.

The Town and County devised a public warning system using automated cell phone and landline notifications, and door to door notification by governmental personnel. A warning siren with voice messaging capability has been installed in the Town of Lake City, and a second warning siren will soon be erected to supplement the system.

Over the course of the last six weeks preparedness plans have been developed from the community. Representatives from the Town, County, State and supporting agencies met on June 14, 2019, for a plan rehearsal. Participants ran through a mock exercise to test the alert and warning, evacuation, and re-entry plans. They then provided input. This information will be incorporated into the document.

Critical facilities in Lake City were identified, and the Army Corps of Engineers and others worked to develop plans to protect facilities necessary for the operation of the town, as well as buildings with historical significance. Based on the advice of engineers, an earthen berm was improved along the north bank of the Henson Creek. A second berm made from large sandbags weighing as much as 4 thousand pounds each was constructed south of the Henson Creek to divert flood waters away from homes and businesses. Large sandbags were also used to protect structures between the berms on the south side of Henson Creek. Moreover, approximately 25,000 individual sandbags were filled and distributed throughout the community to homes and businesses.

With these mitigations in place, the threat to Hinsdale County and Lake City is significantly reduced. The Unified Coordination Group sent to assist with the preparedness effort has stood down. Remaining mitigation work will be overseen by local recourses.

Although not anticipated, State of Colorado and emergency management partners stand ready to respond if Hinsdale County needs assistance in the future.

Above was taken from email sent on June 15, 2019 from the Public Information Officer, Michael Davis.

Emergency Flooding Information for Lake City

May 28, 2019
This is regarding the Emergency Status Updates for the possibility of Flooding in Lake City.
The best way to keep informed with the most accurate and up-to-date information are the following:
  1. Sign up for the CodeRed App on your phone.
  2. Can call the Public Information number at 970-648-4118.
  3. Check the www.facebook.com/hinsdalecountycolorado page for daily updates. (You do NOT have to have a facebook account.)
  4. Check the Hinsdale County Website at www.hinsdalecountycolorado.us
We currently have multiple local and state agencies assisting with preparations and they are doing an amazing job.
Please keep yourself informed with accurate information.

Hinsdale County Office of Emergency Management Update May 7, 2019

This morning, the Hinsdale County Board of Commissioners ratified a local disaster declaration due to post avalanche events impacting some of our waterways. Avalanche activity combined with annual runoff has caused debris blockage.

Yesterday, Governor Polis verbally authorized an executive order for a state of emergency that enables the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Colorado State Emergency Operations Center to provide planning support and staffing for a multi-agency coordination group as Hinsdale County lessens the severity of post-avalanche impacts.

The Hinsdale County Road & Bridge crew has cleared one lane to Capitol City.  However, the narrow makeup of the canyon in the Klondike slide area the river, road and snowmelt has caused a buildup of debris.   Local, regional, and state representatives are visiting the site today to determine next steps to avoid the road washing out.   Currently, the gate above Snowden’s Meadow remains closed to vehicular traffic.

Join Hinsdale County and the Town of Lake City for a public briefing at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 8th, at the Armory.    The audio of the briefing will be posted on-line and the event may occur on Facebook Live, if capabilities allow.

Follow Hinsdale County Facebook page or website for updates.

Sign up for Code Red Alerts on the Hinsdale County website.   If you need assistance signing up, please visit the Silver Thread Public Health District.

Klondike Slide and County Road 20

Lake City News – May 2019 – Night Skies

Because of its remote location, Lake City is well suited for great stargazing opportunities. On a clear night, one can marvel at the moon, planets, constellations, and other spectacular phenomena of our universe. Certainly, a good set of binoculars or telescope will enhance your “up close” viewing.

One of the best places in Lake City to view the stars is The Slumgullion Discovery Center, a sixty-acre parcel of land located 3 miles south of Lake City.

The Lake Fork Valley Conservancy (LFVC) staff and local volunteers are currently preparing an extensive application with the International Dark-Sky Association to have the proposed Slumgullion Discovery Center designated as a Dark Sky Park.  A Dark Sky Park is one of six designations identified by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). IDA is an award-winning organization that was established in 2002 to recognize and promote areas that provide excellent stewardship of the night sky.

Night-sky photography is also getting very popular, and the internet – particularly Instagram – is full of stunning images of star fields and the Milky Way. They may look like highly polished images taken by photographers with years of experience, but it’s actually advances in modern cameras that are the main reason for the genre’s sudden popularity.

If you have a camera with a good deal of manual control and a clear sky, taking pictures of the night sky is much easier than you might think. Check out our tips for photographing the night sky. 

Watching for meteors, one of the best astronomy activities in Lake City, is absolutely free and requires nothing more than patience, the naked eye, and mostly clear sky conditions. Although they last only seconds, meteors are always fun to watch as they streak across the sky. And, there are times a fireball (a very large meteor) may flash above. There will be an abundant variety of astronomical events in 2019. 

Above information copied from www.lakecity.com/activities page.

Hinsdale County Office of Emergency Management Update April 8, 2019

Monday April 8 – Hinsdale County Sheriff’s Office has lifted the closure order – at least to foot traffic – on County Road 20 beyond the ATV staging area. The Road & Bridge Department will continue to work to clear debris in this area.

Visitors travel at their own risk and are encouraged to remain aware of surroundings and hazards typical of a high-snow year.

San Juan Ranch Estates Fishing Update March 17, 2019 by Scott Williams

“Fishing at San Juan Ranch today was great.  Another and I caught a number of
fish including an absolutely gorgeous 22″ rainbow that he did a patient
job of landing and releasing safely.

That place fishes great and with water temperatures in the low 40’s, the
fish actually had some fight in them today.

Like last week, small, copper-colored nymphs worked quite well.  He used a
dry/dropper system and I a traditional strike indicator/nymph set-up.  We
both caught a number of fish.

The most difficult part was simply getting TO the river today due to the
prodigious snow amounts on the banks this year (as you can see from the

Hope you’re all getting ready to get up here and get out on the river.”

Posted with permission by Scott Williams. Photo courtesy of Scott Williams.

Hinsdale County Office of Emergency Management Update April 3, 2019

It may not feel like it yet, but spring thaw is here… With thaw comes run off and the potential for flooding. If you are a property owner in an area prone to high water or flooding, consider call about flood insurance TODAY! Is your property flood insurance in force and up to date? Flood insurance must be in place at least one month prior to an event, so call TODAY.

What is covered by your flood insurance?
Have you taken steps to prepare your property for flooding?
Are there items that could be moved to higher points on your property on in your home in case of a flood?
Have you and your family identified where you would go and what you would take should you need to evacuate?

Hinsdale County Office of Emergency Management Update April 4, 2019

At the April 3 BOCC meeting, Resolution #5 was approved by Commissioners Borchers, Thompson and Whinnery to terminate the local Avalanche Disaster Emergency Declaration, effective April 3.

Undersheriff Chris Kambish lifted the closure order on the Waterdog Trail.

By order of the Sheriff’s Office, County Road 20 remains closed beyond the ATV Staging Area.

By order of the Sheriff’s Office, County Road 30 remains closed beyond Wager Gulch.

Recovery efforts are underway to address impacts from recent emergencies.

Hinsdale County Office of Emergency Management March 16 Update

Hinsdale County Office of Emergency Management
7:50 pm March 16
A Comnet technician conducted testing in Lake City this evening. They believe all issues with the 911 system have been resolved.
The Hinsdale County coroner confirmed the fatality reported yesterday was not avalanche related.
More permanent barriers were installed in several areas today by Hinsdale County Road & Bridge.
Clearing work continues on the McJunkin / Hammonds Meadows slide.
The Town of Lake City has cleared all fire hydrants except those that are flagged due to non-disaster related maintenance issues.
Mineral County’s Sheriff’s department provided relief assistance in Hinsdale County today.
The emergency operations center is transitioning to remote staffing at 5:30 p.m. for the remainder of the weekend.
Follow Hinsdale County Facebook page or website for updates.
Sign up for Code Red Alerts on the Hinsdale County website

Lake City Avalanche Information Public Meeting March 15, 2019

Image may contain: text that says 'AVALANCHE INFORMATION MEETING TODAY! A public information meeting about the current avalanche situation will be held at the Armory today, Friday, March 15th at 4:00 pm. Avalanche conditions in and around Lake City will be discussed as well as emergency operations, areas of concerns and avalanche preparedness.'

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