CDOT Launched 1,500 Avalanche Ordinances this Winter – 22 Failed to Explode and May Be a Threat to Hikers

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A huge avalanche triggered by CDOT using explosives. Credit: Facebook

As a record avalanche season slowly comes to an end across Colorado, the state’s Department of Transportation is warning hikers to be on the lookout for un-exploded avalanche ordinances, reports KDVR. So far this winter, CDOT has deployed 1,500 ordinances across the state of which 22 failed to explode.

“There’s a chance someone could come upon an unexploded ordinance,” says Tracy Trulove. “Our team is tracking where those un-exploded ordinances are, but you may come upon them before we do.”

Trulove says the ordinances look like small torpedoes and are brightly colored.

“They’re either yellow, blue or orange,” she says. “It’s probably something that shouldn’t be in nature.”

Trulove says if you do find one, keep a safe distance and contact law enforcement.

“It’s an explosive, so you definitely don’t want to do anything to move it,” she says. “A lot of times, it is just a dud and nothing will occur, but you want a team of trained professionals to detonate or disarm the explosive.”

CDOT says the performed mitigation work in places they haven’t touched in decades, so the ordinances could be practically anywhere where avalanche mitigation work was done. That could include hiking trails on both sides of the Continental Divide, like Herman Gulch.

Trulove says it’s likely some of the devices may be hidden under snow and won’t emerge until much later during the summer. CDOT is still performing additional avalanche mitigation work so that 22 figure could grow before the end of the season.


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