Glenwood Springs needs $10.5 million — right now — to prepare for watershed impacts of Grizzly Creek Fire | VailDaily.com
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Glenwood Springs needs $10.5 million — right now — to prepare for watershed impacts of Grizzly Creek Fire

White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams points out areas along the Grizzly Creek burn area to Sen. Michael Bennet near the Grizzly Creek Rest Area before a media briefing on Thursday afternoon. Chelsea Self / Post Independent

GLENWOOD CANYON — Standing mere feet from where a human-caused spark on Interstate 70 above the Colorado River ignited the now 32,000-acre Grizzly Creek fire, Jonathan Godes painted a nightmare scenario that could have been. 

Glenwood Springs’ mayor said if that spark had been 5 miles downstream and exploded into a wildfire the size of Grizzly Creek on the south end of his city, it would have trapped more than 5,000 residents without a way to escape and “we would be talking about people dying in cars and people losing homes and another Paradise,” said Godes, referring to the northern California town was that leveled by the 2018 Camp Fire. 

“We would not just be talking about water,” he said. “We would be talking about lives lost.”

Glenwood Springs residents and homes may not be threatened by flames from the Grizzly Creek Fire, but the city’s water supply is imperiled by the deluge of ash, debris and mud that will pour into the Colorado River in the coming months when rain, snow and ice melt scour the scorched walls of Glenwood Canyon.

The city has identified $86 million in critical projects it needs to protect its water and residents from the ravages of the Grizzly Creek Fire, now 82% contained, and future wildfires. The city needs $261,000 by the end of October to protect its existing water supply and another $10.2 million before year’s end for debris and sediment mitigation projects.

Read more via The Colorado Sun.


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