Monday, May 9, 2016

West Salt Creek Landslide Emergency Preparedness

PLATEAU VALLEY, Colo -- With spring runoff comes an increased focus on the West Salt Creek Landslide and the ongoing hazard that it poses to downstream residents. 

This message is to refresh your memory on the emergency action plan for the landslide and to encourage you to be prepared in the event of an emergency evacuation. 

The emergency action plan for the landslide is defined by three levels. The response level indicates both actions that may be taken by public safety agencies and landslide events that drive public safety actions. The three response levels are: 
  • RESPONSE LEVEL I: “Get Ready” stance 
  • RESPONSE LEVEL II: “Get Set” stance 
  • RESPONSE LEVEL III: “GO!!” stance 

RESPONSE LEVEL I definition: Level I is the least serious level. This level is to direct organizations that have a role in managing incidents related to the landslide to “Get Ready”. At this level technical experts and response organizations will increase vigilance and begin preparing for an emergency response. This response level will not likely be visible to residents. 

RESPONSE LEVEL II definition: Level II is more serious than Level I but not as serious as Level III. Level II signifies that water-related and/or landslide events have occurred that may become life threatening. At this level, response organizations will “Get Set” to respond and residents should prepare or “Get Set” to leave. At this response level, residents should expect: 
  • Prepositioning of emergency response equipment
  • Notification via reverse 911 directing you to STAND BY AND PREPARE TO LEAVE.
  • Flash Flood Watch issued by the National Weather Service 
  • News Coverage of emergency conditions 
  • Resources (i.e. sandbags) available to community 

RESPONSE LEVEL III definition: Level III indicates that an extremely serious situation exists. Major life-threatening releases from the lake formed by the landslide are occurring and/or the physical condition of the landslide deposit has deteriorated to such a point that failure is likely or occurring. At this level, - 2 - response agencies will be responding (“GO!!). At this response level, residents should expect: 
  • Direction to evacuate and move to higher ground 
  • Flash Flood Warning issued by the National Weather Service 
  • Notification to evacuate via reverse 911
  • Activation of NOAA weather radios 
  • Television and radio override with Flash Flood Warning

 A 2014 US Army Corps of Engineers study provides estimated arrival times of flood waters. These times are based on the rapid release of 500 acre feet of water. Wave arrival times are estimated at: 

  • West Salt Creek above East Salt Creek: 1 hrs 30 min 
  • Salt Creek above Plateau Creek: 2 hrs 30 min 
  • Plateau Creek above Collbran: 2 hrs 55 min 
  • Plateau Creek below Collbran: 3 hrs 10 min 

Evacuation Routes: Please familiarize yourself with the following evacuation routes and rally points. It is important that you identify and prioritize these routes based on where you live and work.

 1. Salt Creek Area: East on Hwy 330 to Clover Ln 
           a. Assemble at cemetery for evacuation assistance if necessary
           b. May self-evacuate on Hwy 330 E to Silt, CO. 
2. 57 ½ Rd south then west through Molina to Mesa Community Center 
           a. Evacuation assistance will be organized at Mesa Community Center 
3. Kimball Creek Rd north to 58 7/10 Rd east 
           a. Park along right shoulder leaving one lane clear for traffic 
           b. Wait for water to recede or standby for evacuation direction if required 

Personal Preparedness: Personal preparedness is an important factor. Here are some tasks to help become personally prepared: 

  1. Register your cell phone to receive community and emergency alerts from the 911 communications center. Register your device at
  2.  Make an emergency kit, develop a family emergency plan, and be prepared for any emergency that may strike your community. Visit at for personal preparedness information 
Please contact the Mesa County Office of Emergency Management at 970-244- 1763 if you have specific questions not addressed in this post.