The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office is coordinating efforts to locate 3 people thought to be missing after being caught in the large mudslide which occurred about 6:15 Saturday night. Video’s of the Sheriff’s news conference can be found below.
Plateau Valley Fire Department first responded to the area of Salt Creek Road, in the area of Vega Reservoir, on the Grand Mesa. This area is east and south of the small town of Collbran–about 11 miles, located in Mesa County. Plateau Valley Fire and Deputies responded immediately, along with Mesa County Search and Rescue Control, Inc., and the Collbran Marshal. Citizens and are highly discouraged from going into the area and a road block has been established outside the mudslide perimeter, for safety. The roadblock is set up at the intersection of Highway 330 and Salt Creek Road, outside the town of Collbran.
The mudslide is estimated to be about 4 miles long, 2 miles wide and about 250 feet deep, in many places. It is described as very unstable by deputies on scene tonight, and they estimate an entire ridge has been sliding for most of today. A witness who called into dispatch this evening, described hearing a noise that sounded much like a freight train that is attributed to the slide. If estimates are correct this mudslide is over 15 times larger and 3 times deeper than the Oso, WA mudslide back in March, where the mudslide covered an area 1,500 feet long, 4,400 feet wide and deposited debris 30 to 70 feet deep.
“This slide is unbelievably big,” Lt. Phil Stratton, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, said. Weather, including rain, has fallen in Mesa County most of the day and likely contributed to the cause of the slide. The area is very remote and no structures have been reported damaged, however a more accurate assessment will be established Monday morning. No major roads have been impacted I-70 is approximately 26 miles north of the slide.
Photo of the slide area (behind helicopter) from Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. Click on photo to enlarge.