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Flash Flooding Forces Evacuation Of Boy Scout Camp; 5 Injured

By: KKTV/Gina Esposito Email
By: KKTV/Gina Esposito Email
More than 150 Boy Scouts and staff were evacuated from their camp overnight due to flash flooding.

Spanish Peaks Scout Ranch after flooding on July 8

Flash flooding at a Boy Scout camp forced more than 150 scouts and staff to evacuate Wednesday night.

The Spanish Peaks Scout Ranch began flooding around 9:45 p.m. The Red Cross says five people were injured and were treated for minor injuries at an area hospital. The Huerfano Sheriff says they were released from the hospital sometime in the afternoon. He says two kids were swept away in the current.

Wednesday marked the second time in the past eight days that the scout camp has been evacuated. The camp is located outside Walsenburg in Huerfano County, and sits close to the East Peak burn scar, which is susceptible to flooding.

Just as they did on July 8, the Red Cross opened an evacuation shelter at the Walsenburg Community Center. Parents drove for hours through the night to reach their children.

"These kids are troopers," one father, who drove seven hours from Kansas to see his son, told 11 News.

It's the second summer in a row that scouts have had to evacuate the camp; Boy Scouts were evacuated last June during the East Peak Fire. After the evacuation last week on July 8, 11 News talked to scout leaders, who said they were prepared for anything when they embarked for camp this year.

"Especially after last year in the fire, we keep everything with us at all times. We call it out 'Day Pack,'" Conservation Director Nathaniel Dorr said.

On Thursday, a news conference was held. The Huerfano County Sheriff, Bruce Newman, and the scout executive, Michael Stewart, announced they were going to close the camp and send the kids home as a safety precaution.

Steward said they had people monitoring Bear Creek's water level Wednesday. A sheriff's deputy was stationed at the site just in case of an emergency. He says the Weather Service alerted the camp about an hour or so before the evacuation to let them know about the heavy rain just above their campsite.

"Our camp director received a call about an hour or so before the creek really started rising saying that there was rain above the creek and we need to be prepared," said Stewart.

Thursday afternoon, most of the kids collected their things at the camp and went home. One troop spent Thursday night at the Huerfano County Community Center because they live too far. The Red Cross stayed the night with them. The evacuation center closed Friday morning.

"Right now we believe it's very high risk, just like any burn scar area, there nothing to contain it and we are having a lot more rain than normal," said Sheriff Newman.


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