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County discusses flood mitigation plan for Black Forest

County discusses flood mitigation plan for Black Forest

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - Paso County said Wednesday it's watching flood patterns to see if a long-term flood mitigation plan needs to be established.

This comes as areas around the Black Forest Fire's burn scar turn heavy rainfall into flash floods. Shoup Road from Tahosa to Holmes roads has become notorious for flooding in the wake of the fire.

Rain water, ash and debris clog culverts and ditches on the road. The mess overflows into homeowners' properties.

The Black Forest Fire burn scar could see heavy rain Wednesday in the late afternoon or early evening.

Malcolm McClain lives along Shoup Road. Heavy rain turned his pasture into a pond. He said it was 3 to 4 feet deep after the last two heavy rains.

The rain water is supposed to flow from his neighbor's property across the street through a culvert under Shoup Road to his property. In recent years, he's seen very little water go through the culvert. During the past two heavy rains, debris and ash blocked the culvert sending water over the top of Shoup Road. He said the water on the road was 8 to 12 inches high and more than 70 feet wide.

Debris also wreaked havoc on his fences.

"As you can see this used to be a fence all across here. It took that out and then the fences at the lower end, it took that out too, so that's the biggest thing we have to contend with," said McClain.

El Paso County oversees Shoup Road. It said it's trying to help residents now in the fire's flood zones.

Max Kirschbaum is El Paso County Public Service Department's Operations Manager.  His crews are re-establishing ditches along Shoup Road. They're cleaning out culverts blocked by debris. Crews temporarily shut down the road after the past two floods to clear debris away.

The county will analyze flood patterns in Black Forest before it determines if a long-term flood mitigation plan is necessary.


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