Flood Fear Forces Colorado Park Evacuations
Three campgrounds were evacuated in Colorado's Weld County Wednesday night (July 13), after authorities discovered a damaged head gate on the peak-flowing St. Vrain River east of Longmont, the Denver Post reported.
An inspector at the Last Chance Ditch found the compromised gate at 5 p.m. east of Weld County Road 7 and north of Colorado Highway 119. The park is located off Interstate 25, 20 miles north of Denver.
The Colorado State Parks personnel and Frederick-Firestone Fire District evacuated 85 campers at three campsite loops in St. Vrain State Park as a precautionary measure, according to the Weld County Sheriff's Department.
"The river head gate will be monitored throughout the night although it is believed the river has peaked and is not expected to rise," the sheriff's department stated.
The Greeley Tribune reported further today that the evacuation was a precautionary measure, and officials didn’t believe the river would rise any higher in the area.
A command post was set up the State Park Headquarters in Firestone, and a Weld County Sheriff’s office volunteer spent Thursday night at the park warning new campers what parts of the campground were closed and where it is safe to camp.
Deb Frazier, spokeswoman for Colorado State Parks and Wildlife, said the north campground areas, near the irrigation ditch headgate, remain closed at least through Friday night. “We’re still concerned that the St. Vrain River is as flood stage and could breach the headgate and go over the top, flooding some of the campgrounds.”
The St. Vrain Park is also known to local residents as Barbour Ponds.