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Fires and Floods 5

Local volunteers work to clear away tons of mud-caked debris deposited in a recent flash flood, in Manitou Springs, Colo. Manitou Springs has spent more than $130,000 on cleanup, City Administrator Jack Benson said. The city is looking into buying up to four houses in the flood area and using the land for a retention pond or some other flood control project, if funding can be found, he said.

Fires and Floods: Cost of Recovery for Colorado

Drenching rain in the wildfire-blackened hills below Colorado's Pikes Peak sent a torrent of rock and mud into the tourist town of Manitou Springs this month, killing a 53-year-old man and smashing into dozens of houses.

It had been more than a year since the enormous Waldo Canyon Fire roared across the slopes above. But its burn scar is just beginning to recover, with little plant material - living or dead - to absorb this year's late-summer rains.

So when the storm came on Aug. 9, the runoff raced down, destroying or damaging 36 homes, engulfing half a dozen cars and killing John Collins, who was driving home from work. Manitou Springs was smeared with reddish mud and debris.