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Road back open after avalanche that knocked out power to southwest Colorado town

The San Miguel County Sheriff's Office said Ophir Road is back open.

OPHIR, Colo. — Mitigation efforts are finished after an avalanche knocked out power to Ophir and closed a road to the southwest Colorado town. 

The San Miguel County Sheriff's Office said the avalanche, which was first reported around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, buried power infrastructure. San Miguel Power Association said it was working with the county's road and bridge department and the sheriff's office to clear snow and debris. At 3:35 p.m. Wednesday, the sheriff's office said power to the town core had been restored but some services remained out. 

At 9:30 a.m. Thursday, the sheriff's office said crews estimated avalanche mitigation efforts would take another six hours. However, at 1:55 p.m. the sheriff's office said mitigation efforts were going slower than expected and that the road may not open until Friday. Foot traffic was being allowed over the slide in the meantime.

At 5:15 p.m., the sheriff's office said Ophir Road was back open.

An avalanche warning was in effect until 4:30 p.m. Thursday for the Northern San Juans including Telluride, Ophir, and Uncompahgre Wilderness, the sheriff's office said.

Sheriff's deputies estimated the avalanche debris was approximately 20 feet deep and covered 150-200 yards of Ophir Road.

Ophir Road was closed all the way out to Highway 145. The sheriff's office told people in Ophir to shelter in place during the closure.

Credit: Steve Barnett

People who live in Ophir but were outside of town were told to shelter somewhere else. 

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reported avalanche danger was "considerable" in the area.

Ophir is a historic mining town located south of Telluride in the San Juan Mountains. According to the town's website, it has a population of 180 humans and 51 dogs. 



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