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Lingle, Wyoming Community Comes Together For Flood Cleanup After Evacuation

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Residents of Lingle, a small town in Goshen County, have come together over the last few days to help with cleanup efforts after flooding forced evacuation of a portion of the community on Friday.

Parts of Lingle were inundated Friday by floodwaters released by a breach in the nearby Pathfinder Canal early Friday morning. It did not appear that anyone was injured in the flood.

State Sen. Cheri Steinmetz, R-Lingle, told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday that she was inspired by the community’s willingness to help each other in a time of crisis.

“The way our close-knit communities respond during a crisis gives me hope that the heart of Wyoming is still intact,” she said. “We know our neighbors will continue to need our support as they clean up and rebuild.”

The Lingle Fire Department spent much of Tuesday continuing cleanup work, such as removing debris from roads and pushing massive dirt piles back down to the ground.



Fire officials on Tuesday thanked “countless” volunteers and private contractors who provided equipment and personnel to help with cleanup efforts.

In total, 93 emergency personnel, including community members and independent contractors assisted with the flooding on Friday, along with 20 county and state emergency agencies.

“The outpouring of support from the community was second to none,” officials from the Lingle Fire Department said on social media. “There are so many people that helped that were not accounted for and we can never thank everyone enough. The size of the incident was large and there are a lot of people that were probably not mentioned but we appreciate all your help.”

Around 600 inmates from the Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution helped to fill bags of sand to ward off any additional flood damage and Gov. Mark Gordon sent in the Wyoming National Guard to help with flood protection and cleanup efforts on Friday.

People also donated food and drinks for volunteers and emergency responders.

Goshen County Fire Warden Bill Law told Cowboy State Daily on Friday that the breach occurred just before 6 a.m.

Photos taken over the weekend by Torrington emergency management officials showed several buildings surrounded by water, including houses and a local business, Anderson Carpet.



Dee Anderson of Anderson Carpet thanked friends and community members on social media this weekend for helping her out of a “hopeless” situation.

“From the bottom of my heart, thank you all so very much. What seemed like a completely hopeless situation now has possibility. Still so much work to be done but we will get there,” she wrote.



Anderson did not immediately return Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment on Tuesday.

While the flood was a rare event for the region, Goshen County Fire Warden Bill Law said it was not the first time this has happened. Around three to four years ago, the same canal breached, but it only forced a handful of people to leave home.

“Not since the Lusk episode a good number of years ago has our county or area had to evacuate,” Law said.

A flash flood in June 2015 left downtown Lusk inundated with water and led to a collapsed bridge and damage to some homes.

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Flood Waters Reach Lingle; Gordon Sends In National Guard

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Courtesy, Danielle Kinberg
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Flooding caused by a breached irrigation canal inundated Lingle on Friday, forcing its evacuation as Gov. Mark Gordon called out the Wyoming National Guard to help with the situation.

Water from the breached Pathfinder Canal north and west of Lingle reached the community Friday afternoon, less than 12 hours after the breach occurred Friday morning.

The flooding forced the evacuation of the community and the closure of U.S. Highway 26.

Gordon activated the National Guard to help with work to stem the floodwaters.

“At my request, Secretary of State Buchanan is on the ground to personally survey the scope of the damage and to ascertain what resources are needed to help the citizens of Goshen County,” he said in a news release. “Secretary Buchanan has reported the local folks are working together to sandbag the canal. As I have said many times before, I am proud of our Wyoming people who do what they do best: helping neighbors.”


Courtesy, Torrington, Wyoming Police Department

Staff from the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security, the State Engineer’s Office and county officials immediately traveled to the site to assess the situation after the breach was announced.

Water had been diverted from the canal at the Whalen Diversion Dam to reduce floodwaters inundating Lingle. Gordon’s office said on Friday that floodwater levels would begin receding around 2 p.m. on Friday. However, water was expected to continue flowing for the next 12 hours, as the canal was full prior to diversion. 

Goshen County Fire Warden Bill Law told Cowboy State Daily on Friday that the breach occurred just before 6 a.m.

“It’s probably gonna take another six hours or so to stop the water from reaching [Lingle],” Law said. “We are doing a lot of sandbagging, we’re bringing in dirt and firming up every area that we can.”

Around 600 inmates from the Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution were helping to fill bags of sand to ward off any additional flood damage.

Local law enforcement, fire and emergency crews were working to control traffic and assist community members with the flooding. Law noted that emergency responders from Laramie County have also joined in to help.

“Manpower is what’s needed right now,” Law said.



The fire warden said a small number of people were told to leave their homes due to the flooding. They are now being housed at a Lingle church.

While the flooding incident on Friday was a rare event, Law said it was not the first time this has happened. Around three to four years ago, the same canal breached, but it only caused a handful of people to leave home.

“Not since the Lusk episode a good number of years ago has our county or area had to evacuate,” Law said.

A flash flood in June 2015 left downtown Lusk inundated with water and led to a collapsed bridge and damage to some homes.

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