Colorado weather: Flash flooding could affect I-70 near the Grizzly Creek Fire burn scar Tuesday

Mudslide on I-70
Courtesy of CDOT
At least five mudslides on Saturday, July 3, 2021, closed Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon along the burn scar of the Grizzly Creek fire.

Flash flooding caused by excessive rain could once again hit the area surrounding the Grizzly Creek Fire burn scar. 

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for part of Interstate 70 near Glenwood Springs Tuesday morning. The Grizzly Creek burn scar is located on the steep slopes surrounding the interstate, making it easy for debris and mud to spill onto one of Colorado’s busiest and most important highways. 

The warning is in effect until Tuesday evening. Meteorologists do not have an estimate for how much rain will fall, but they noted “gusty outflow winds, brief heavy rain, and frequent lightning” could impact the area. 

Last summer, flash flooding in the burn scar caused I-70 to experience frequent closures, causing travel headaches and supply chain issues. Flash flooding can happen suddenly — in one instance last August, more than 100 people were forced to spend a night in a highway tunnel after a mudslide covered the interstate with debris.

The Grizzly Creek fire ignited in August 2020 and burned more than 32,000 acres.