Jackson Authorities Still Monitoring Hill Side for Slide Risk

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Jackson, WY -- Most of the Jackson residents who were evacuated after land began shifting on a hillside won't be able to return home for several days.

It's still not clear what's causing the land to shift, but officials say they've taken steps to make sure there's no catastrophe. At this point, geologists say that the likelihood of something happening like what happened in Washington is less than five percent, and movement should only be minimal. They're continuing to monitor the scene.

48 people registered with the Red Cross checkpoint Wednesday night, although a few people police contacted refused to evacuate. Ground movement over the weekend caused water pipes to break at the town's pump station, and visible fissures have formed in the hillside.

Local authorities have decided to reopen the west portion of the business complex only. All residents on the hill are still under evacuation, although they are being allowed to gather their belongings by escort only.

Mark Varley, who's been evacuated, is at something of a loss. "Any one that lives up on that hill, all the residents all the apartment people, are homeless basically until they can either build a new road or get something else figured out," Varley said. One man showed up to help move two full houses. "We evacuated to houses everything from appliances to barbie fishing pools. Everything had to get out of there," John Corless said.

Officials are telling residents to plan to be evacuated for at least 3 to 5 more days, until they can figure out how to stabilize the hill. But some residents aren't too worried: "You know, I built the house myself and I know how much concrete and steel is in that house so I'm pretty confident that our house isn't going anywhere because it's built into the hillside pretty strong and the crack is 40 yards off of our property line," Brad Watsabaugh said.

Geologists say the movement is minimal but they don't believe it's going to fix it itself. Eventually they'll have to go in and address the problem.