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After the floods, Colorado begins to take stock

Eight confirmed dead; more oil spills discovered

A stuffed teddy bear chair was left beside a toppled home in a flooded section of Evans, Colo.  Hundreds of miles of roads were washed out in the state.

Rick Wilking/Reuters

A stuffed teddy bear chair was left beside a toppled home in a flooded section of Evans, Colo. Hundreds of miles of roads were washed out in the state.

DENVER — The final six people who were unaccounted for after massive flooding in Colorado have been found safe and well, authorities said Tuesday, but new spills were reported in water-damaged oilfields.

Only one person remained missing and is presumed dead. Eight deaths have been confirmed.

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The disaster damaged or destroyed nearly 2,000 homes, washed out hundreds of miles of roads, and left many small mountain towns completely cut off.

In the early days of the flooding, more than 1,200 people were listed as unaccounted for, but the list shrank quickly as people checked in after they were evacuated.

Meanwhile, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission said three new spills totaling at least 7,600 gallons had been discovered as flood waters recede. Regulators are now tracking 11 notable leaks, mostly from storage tanks that toppled or otherwise failed.

Flooding has hampered attempts to inspect storm damage. Where crews can get to the sites, they are using containment booms and vacuum trucks to capture and remove oil-contaminated water, said Todd Hartman, a spokesman for the commission.

Air National Guard helicopters have airlifted more than 3,000 people and nearly 900 pets to safety.

‘‘We are really happy that we were able to clear all the missing folks,’’ said Larimer County sheriff’s spokesman John Schulz.

The woman who is missing and presumed dead is 60 and lived in hard-hit Big Thompson Canyon. Schulz said eyewitnesses saw the woman in the water, and searchers have found no trace of her.

The death toll was dramatically lower than the 144 people killed in 1976 when a flash flood thundered down Big Thompson Canyon. About a foot of rain fell at the head of the canyon in just four hours, triggering the deadliest flash flood in state history.

The difference was that this month’s floods, which started Sept. 12, arose over a period of days, giving most people time to get to safety, Schulz said.

Vice President Joe Biden flew over some of the damage Monday and promised that US aid won’t stop even in the event of a government shutdown.

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