WILDFIRES

Utah County Community: Why Wasn’t Dam Raised During Heavy Storm?

Jul 29, 2019, 8:37 PM | Updated: 9:08 pm

LAKE SHORE, Utah – Homeowners are still cleaning up after flood waters from the burn scar of last year’s wildfires near Birdseye traveled downstream and overflowed the banks of the Spanish Fork River in Lake Shore.

A dam used to control irrigation water out of the river was mostly closed, so when the flash flood hit, the water couldn’t keep going downstream. The high water flooded several yards and at least two homes.

The crawl space full of storage items in Terri Hudson’s home was filled with the muddy water.

The water was just rushing… over the dam there, and poured over the banks and into the crawl space, said Hudson, who has lived in her home for decades without any flood. That was a really scary sound, but our crawl spaces were all filled so all the storage and everything underneath – that was pretty much ruined.”

Whether it was the local irrigation company’s responsibility or water managers upstream, the neighbors are hopeful they will find out what happened.

“There are five dams on the river, as I understand. All four dams got raised except ours. No word was ever… People say they tried to call, but no answered, but… I don’t know,” Hudson added.

The priority was to clean up first. The financial losses to homes, pastures and crops was still hard to know.

“Very sad for some of these homes along here. Their crawl spaces are full of water and the mud kills people’s fields, lawns and gardens,” said Shane Giles, who lives nearby.

A community meeting has been planned for Thursday evening at the town pavilion, when homeowners hoped to get more answers and discuss what can be done to prevent this from happening in the future.

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Utah County Community: Why Wasn’t Dam Raised During Heavy Storm?