SANTAQUIN CANYON — It might take weeks before Santaquin Road is reopened after a huge amount of snow and debris covered the road this weekend. Forestry officials say there’s a potential of more slides, and weather watchers are especially concerned about more happening in the upcoming months.
United States Forestry crews were sent to assess just how big the slide was between the Tinney Flat area and the Trumbolt campground. It’s a natural chute, and they see a lot of slides there, but usually nothing this large.
Loyal Clark with the Uintah-Wasatch-Cache National Forest says they’re trying to figure out, “What’s the level of damage? What will be required for us to repair that damage?”
Clark says the potential for more slides is high where this one happened, but some people don’t appear to be taking the threat seriously enough.
“We have received reports that people are parking there at the gate and walking in, climbing on top of the slide to take pictures and selfies. We’re strongly advising them to stay away. It has extremely hazardous conditions,” she says.
Along with this section of Santaquin Canyon, there are other areas of concern. National Weather Service Hydrologist Brian McInerney says the neighborhoods in Woodland Hills and Loafer Canyon could see mudslides later this year because they’re so close to burn scars.
“It’s where these areas are adjacent to residential areas are the most frightening,” McInerney says.
They aren’t guaranteeing that there will be slides in those areas, but, McInerney says there’s a certain amount of rain they don’t want to fall there.
“Our rule of thumb is about a half inch of rain in about half an hour. That amount of rain will typically kick off a debris flow,” he says.