When the real mud flies
May 23, 2018
Anyone who thought there was a lot of mudslinging in this campaign got a little lesson from Mother Nature on Monday evening.
Emergency personnel from across Douglas and Mono counties responded to Topaz Lake where more than a half inch of rain fell in 30 minutes sending 2-5 feet of mud across Highway 395.
A good portion of that burst through the doors of the Topaz Lodge forcing the dinner crowd to seek shelter on the casino's second floor.
Reports were that as many as two-dozen motorists were stuck between prongs of the debris flow that sent boulders up to 2 feet in diameter into the roadways.
A vehicle with four occupants was stuck between mudflows on Topaz Park Road as water rose to the runningboards. Fortunately, neither they nor any other motorists were swept into the lake as a result of the deluge.
The roads in the neighborhood around Topaz Lake were pretty bad to start with, but after Monday's flooding, they were a mess.
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However, county crews spent the night working to clear the mud and rocks. Another blessing was that the storms came before the county spent money to fix those roads.
We've been hearing for years that burn scars could contribute to flooding, but the Topaz Lake flooding was a clear example of what can happen when all the vegetation on a hillside is burned off.
While most firefighters eschew the use of the phrase fire season nowadays, hotter, drier weather will make vegetation more susceptible to ignition.
Monday's flooding is a reminder that flames are not the only hazard brought by wildfires.