DUCHESNE COUNTY (News4Utah) – It’s turned out to be a rough month for Duchesne County as the Dollar Ridge Fire burns monsoon thunderstorms usher in a new type of threat: flash flooding.
Standing water and soggy debris: a muddy mess left behind by flash flood waters that trapped about 50 people near Timber Canyon Sunday. The rains may be gone, but the storm of damage is something the county will face for years to come.
“We’ve seen some flooding up here…this is probably 10 times worse than we’ve ever seen,” said Todd Adamson who became trapped by flood waters.
A strong storm sent rushing water down the eastern side of the Dollar Ridge burn scar. Adamson and his wife were exploring when all of sudden, it started to pour.
There’s a high flood coming across the road. It was shooting water and mud about 10 feet up onto trees. Boulders coming down, trees coming down… Big trees coming down and getting piled up into the river,” said Adamson.
Facing wall of water, a surge of debris and mud coming off the surrounding cliffs, the Adamsons turned around and found higher ground with a Department of Natural Resources employee helping people in the area. Flood waters stranded them for hours.
“We just had to wait it out, we waited about three hours and eventually they brought a front end loader and road grater up,” said Adamson.
About 50 people were trapped, but they all got out safely. As of Monday afternoon, the road remained closed in Timber Canyon, but the Duchesne County building official trekked through the mess left to behind to examine buildings impacted.
“The damage is fairly minimal to the buildings. Mostly there will be moisture issues that can cause mold later on, but I don’t see any structural issues to the houses at this point,” said Karl Mott, Duchesne County.
There is still no water and electricity to the area and Mott said he’s never seen anything thing like this.
“Actually, in my career, I have never seen this before. Not like this. in 2011, we had a flood go down the Duchesne river, but it was mostly water damage. It wasn’t the mud and debris like this is, “said Mott.
Burn scars are monitored for several years following a wildfire because of situations like these. The county building official said the flood will carry a hefty price tag when it comes to clean up.