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Mount Shasta mudslide closes roads

MT. SHASTA — A massive mudslide that started on Mount Shasta Saturday afternoon closed two roads, but no injuries or property damage were reported.

The U.S. Forest Service reported the mudslide started at about 3 p.m. after confirmation of a sizable debris flow in Mud Creek Canyon, located on the mountain's southeast side. The slide continued through the night into Sunday morning. The incident closed Pilgrim Creek Road and U.S. Forest Service Road No. 31. Andrea Capps, public information officer for the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, said the closures will remain in place for at least the next few days.

"The mud is still so wet and thick," she said.

Highway 89 remains open and is safe to travel on, but motorists should be aware of potential hazards on the road. Impacts from the debris flow will likely also be seen in the McCloud River, and sediments from Mud Creek shifted by the slide are expected to impact water quality and fishing in the waterway. The U.S. Forest Service cautioned motorists to stay away from the area and not attempt to ford a muddy road, as even small amounts of debris can overpower tires.

Forest Service officials said the slide's cause has not yet been determined, but said a likely culprit starts with this summer's dry conditions and heat. Pockets of water held by glaciers around Mount Shasta can release the water when portions break, melt off or shift because of the heat, then flow down the mountainside gathering debris as it travels.

There were no injuries or property damage reported in the area, largely because of the limited number of trails and infrequently used roads.

"We got really fortunate," Capps said.

The National Weather Service also instituted a flash flood warning for the area, which was lifted Sunday night. Flows had begun to recede at 8 a.m. Sunday. U.S. Forest Service officials remain on scene assessing the impacts at the crossings. Additional mudslides are possible because of the area's instability and chances for more rain later this week.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.

Mount Shasta mudslide closes roads