KITSAP COUNTY, Wash. - Heavy rains are likely to blame for a landslide on the Kitsap Peninsula north of Poulsbo that damaged at least two properties and forced evacuations, say officials.
The damage occurred down a private road that leads to Seclusion Cove, which is situated along Hood Canal. The Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management said nobody is allowed to access the neighborhood without escort. Out of the 8 homes evacuated, officials told Q13 News that 2 have been red-tagged, meaning they are not safe to inhabit.
First responders said they could hear the slide moving while evacuating people from the neighborhood on Monday.
The ground is soaked while the rain was relentless. The danger was unfolding in front of Jack and Cathy Heggenstaller’s home.
"When it rains a lot like this, we hold our breath and we hope we dodge another bullet," Jack said.
The view from the air is dramatic reveals mud and trees had slammed into at least one of the homes. Officials said an adjacent boat-house was destroyed.
Firefighters put out a small blaze from a boat on Hood Canal as they couldn’t get their trucks where they were needed.
"That whole hillside was still unstable and still moving," said Poulsbo Fire Department’s Captain Kevin Vay.
He estimated a 100 by 150 square foot area was covered by mud and debris from the slide, adding that 8 people were evacuated Monday evening without injury.
"They were a little shaken up at first," he said.
"They asked us to leave last night," said Jack, who was returning to his home to gather more belongings Tuesday. While his home is not one of those beyond road closures, he said he could see where trees and mud had inundated other properties.
The Heggenstallers have been in the area for 25 years, adding Monday’s slide wasn’t the first, and won’t likely be the last.
"I’m not a geologist, they say it’s going to get worse before it gets better," said Jack.
Officials told Q13 News that law enforcement would patrol the area while the private road was closed to traffic. The slide continued to move Tuesday evening, according to emergency managers.
Surveying the slide and the road for stability would likely have to wait until the rain subsided, they added.
For information and warning signs regardin landslides click here.