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Colorado Mudslide Traps Hundreds

September 11, 2002

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DURANGO, Colo. (AP) _ Mudslides on slopes stripped of most vegetation by a summer wildfire blocked roads Wednesday and isolated several hundred people at their homes.

No one was in immediate danger, La Plata County sheriff’s Lt. Dan Bender said.

One to 3 inches of rain had fallen in the area since Tuesday afternoon.

Bender said the rain sent mud, trees up to 50 feet long and boulders 5 feet across rolling down hillsides that were left barren by the 70,485-acre Missionary Ridge wildfire in June.

Roads were closed about four miles north of Durango and in the Vallecito area.

``Residents in both locations are being advised to remain in their homes,″ Bender said. ``To our knowledge, no debris has entered people’s homes at this point.″

Shirley Andersen said there were mudslides on both sides of her house, which was undamaged.

``We call it the summer of hell,″ said Andersen, who has lived in the Durango area for 36 years. ``This is the worst.″

The area remained under a flash flood warning Wednesday, National Weather Service hydrologist Brian Avery said.

``More rain is still coming. It hasn’t let up,″ Avery said.

The area also was struck by mud slides last weekend that caused property damage but no injuries.

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