Officials hold town hall meeting on mudslide threat in Collbran

(Photo: Courtesy of the Mesa County Sheriff's Office)
<div>Mesa County Sheriff Stan <span style="line-height: 1.66667em">Hilkey estimates the mudslide to be </span><span style="line-height: 1.66667em">a half a mile wide in certain areas.</span></div>

A town hall meeting was held Thursday night in Collbran, where officials briefed residents about the possibility of another mudslide hitting the ranching community.

The Mesa County sheriff has warned 35 of them to be ready to leave quickly in case there is another slide.

Some are already packing up and leaving while others are keeping an anxious watch on the mountainside that slid earlier this week, presumably killing three of their neighbors.

Scientists have been working with locals to assess the damage posed by a huge lake that is forming where the ridge broke away.

The state Office of Emergency Management is also part of the response to the landslide.

"We’ll have The Army Corps of engineers coming in to provide technical expertise," OEM's Micki Trost says. "We do have the Colorado National Guard who is providing aviation support, and we’re also looking at are there any types of funding resources available."

Trost says the state learned from the recent mudslide in Washington State that homeowners might not be covered for mudslides, so state officials are working on getting out information on what special insurance might be needed for homeowners in any area where mudslides are a danger.

Governor John Hickenlooper is weighing in on the event as well, calling the slide a "fluke catastrophe" and expressing condolences for the victims.

Hickenlooper says the state is asking experts with both the U.S. and Colorado geological surveys to examine their maps to determine other areas which may be vulnerable to slides. The governor downplays the risk of another slide, but says "if there is any indication somewhere else that there’s instability in the landscape, we’ll be forewarned."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.