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Wyoming Residents Still Can't Return to Landslide-Prone Neighborhood

A satellite image shows the location Budge Drive in Jackson, Wyo. Residents of Budge Drive were ordered to evacuate Wednesday night amid growing danger of a landslide.
A satellite image shows the location Budge Drive in Jackson, Wyo. Residents of Budge Drive were ordered to evacuate Wednesday night amid growing danger of a landslide.Google Maps

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The evacuation order that forced out nearly 80 residents remains in effect for homes below a Jackson, Wyo., hillside, as the earth continues to creep down the slope.

Officials said Saturday it remains difficult to say when residents and business owners along the Budge Drive neighborhood will be able to return home following the evacuation Wednesday.

“There’s a home that is at the crest of the hill that has been deemed unsafe,” Assistant Town Manager Roxanne Robinson told NBC News. “Those people will not be able to return to their home.”

Other homes in “mid-safe” zones on other parts of the hill are still not open to residents either.

Jackson’s Municipal Services has put emergency personnel in place to escort residents who need access to property and possessions over the weekend. The town continues to take as many precautionary measures as possible, Robinson said.

A satellite image shows the location Budge Drive in Jackson, Wyo. Residents of Budge Drive were ordered to evacuate Wednesday night amid growing danger of a landslide.
A satellite image shows the location Budge Drive in Jackson, Wyo. Residents of Budge Drive were ordered to evacuate Wednesday night amid growing danger of a landslide.Google Maps

“One of our major concerns at this time is access. There is only one road to the neighborhood and only one lane at this time,” said Robinson.

The Budge Drive landslide continues to slowly move after snowfall and saturation this year helped to loosen the soil, officials said. New earthen cracks in the hillside began appearing this month, and current ground cracks continue to become more visible, they added.

Robinson said that inclinometers, an instrument for measuring angles of slope, have been installed to monitor both the surface and underground movement.

"We have not had any kind of catastrophic movement, but it is definitely a cause for concern," Robinson said. "It's creeping now but it could slide all at once, and the disaster in Washington state shows us we have to be ready."

— Mel Bailey

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