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'Get Out Now': Campers Rushed To Safety As Flash Flood Barreled Down Cache La Poudre River

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - The destruction of a flash flood was on full display this week in Poudre Canyon in Larimer County. The historic Cameron Peak Fire in 2020 left behind its calling card in the form of a massive burn scar.

At least one person died. Sheriff's officials say a woman's body has been recovered. Two men and another woman are missing.

Connie Archer saw the impact.

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"There was a mudslide up top, and it took out a house in Black Hollow, and of course I know people in that area, and I am just worried for their safety."

The heavy rain caused mud to pour down the slopes taking trees with it. Five homes were destroyed, one perhaps with people inside. A car was swept away in the deluge.

Campers like Bryce Cox and his family had to make a quick getaway.

"The river did physically rise, and there were logs coming down, and at that point we said we should get across the bridge right now."

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All camping along the river was then banned and U.S. Forest Service employees went tent to tent warning those along this now-blackened river to "Get out now."

Bill Perkins was another camper who spoke with CBS4 on Wednesday. He and his family had been camping along the river since Sunday night.

"Seriously you don't drive in it. You certainly don't try and wade into it. You just go high, and in the morning figure out where it is and assess the situation," he said.

He says when the rain came through, he was told to go to higher ground. So they waited it out at a 4-wheel drive park. Then they eventually drove back to get their things around midnight.

"We were concerned that we might be stuck up here, but smart enough to know that you can't outrun a flood," he said.

People who live in the canyon are now bracing for more destruction.

"So the weather forecast does concern us. Today's forecast is very much like yesterday's so we are hoping for the best," said David Moore with the Larimer County Sheriff's Office.

Just after he said that, the last thing anyone in Poudre Canyon wanted, more rain began to fall. (It did not lead to more flooding on Wednesday, but the threat for more in the future remains.)

COLORADO FLASH FLOOD HISTORY: More Than 530 Deaths Documented Since 1864

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