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The Ramsey Road, north of Winthrop Washington has been
closed by a debris flow. This is the fourth National Forest System road on the Methow Valley Ranger District to be closed this spring because of damage related to snowmelt and rain.
A debris flow, originating from a slope failure about 3 miles to the northwest covered a portion of Ramsey Road on Tuesday May 31. The flow, which is estimated to be up to 20 feet deep in some places, stopped Forest Service Employees from driving out after working in the area Tuesday
evening. The employees hiked out instead and returned Wednesday to retrieve the vehicle by driving around the mud and debris.
Four roads have been closed this spring after rocks trees and soil made driving on them unsafe or blocked them from being passable. Several others have been damaged or partially blocked. Roads closed as a result of the recent storms and runoff include: Cub Cr/Goat Cr Road number 52,
West Twisp River Road number 4430, Blue Buck Creek Road Number 4225-200, and Libby Creek Road number 43.
Forest Service officials will continue to gather information about road damage as they wait for waiting for conditions to improve.
Engineers, hydrologists and other resource specialists are inspecting some of the bigger flow sites, like the one on Ramsey Road.
"There are several feet of snow left to melt from higher elevations and more rain in the forecast," said Arlo VanderWoude, Vegetation Management Staff for the Methow Valley Ranger District. "Once things begin to dry out we'll be able to get a more accurate assessment of the damage and prioritize the work needed."
Forest officials are advising visitors to use caution near any swollen water body this spring as several Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest streams and rivers are near flood stage. While in the Forest, be aware that trees with saturated roots can suddenly fall and watch water levels to avoid being trapped if flooding or landslides washes out access roads. Campers should erect tents far from water's edge as stream flows normally peak at night.
"Please supervise children near all water bodies and to stay off overhanging stream banks because they are unstable, saturated and can easily slough off into fast-moving water," said VanderWoude.
For updated road condition information on the Methow Valley Ranger District, please check online at www.fs.fed.us/r6/oka/recreation or call the District office at 509-996-4000.
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