Deborah J. Haynes

Evacuation from Jamestown

A Daily Camera interview with me as we came out of the evacuation helicopter is online at

David and I got the first Army helicopter evacuation from Jamestown about 2:00 pm today. We are now in Boulder with our friends Judy and Tom Potter. We are fine. The 1.5 days since our 1:30 am evacuation to the Jamestown school and then to the home of our friends Nancy and Steve Edelstein (both uphill from our place on the creek) have been an emotional and physical roller coaster.

The one James Creek is now four rivers. Bridges and roads are completely impassable, so we were stranded. No propane (tanks blew up or went downstream), no power, no internet, no phones, though the community of 300 banded together to share food and water. Our four out-buildings were all destroyed, and it is likely that our house is now gone with the most recent onslaught of four more inches of rain. I risked my life this morning to go into the house while water swirled around. I was in the house for five minutes to grab what I could carry, and the water had risen a foot or so when I left. It was impossible to recross the water where I had entered the house. But I was able to get out by walking through a less deep area. Before the evacuation from the big town park, David and I sat with friends on the hillside behind the house and looked at the destruction. So much was lost that I can barely cognize it yet. It will be at least a month, we're told, before we can go back to get our vehicles (they are on on higher ground), and completely unknown if we'll ever be able to move back. The town will have to be reconstructed from scratch.

Part of the pain—beyond the loss of art and everything—is the loss of this remarkable small community and glorious physical environment. This is the strongest lesson in impermanence that I have yet learned, and it's not over. We have to rent a car and find a place to live, at least through the winter.

Flooding in Jamestown, Colorado has a video about the devastation in Jamestown.

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