RENO, May 30— A waterlogged mountain gave way today and sent a 15-foot wall of water and mud barreling through a recreational area crowded with Memorial Day picnickers, killing at least one person and injuring several people.

As the mud cascaded down the hillside, it flooded two lakes, carried trees and other debris 3 miles to the bottom and fanned out into farm fields below, pushing boulders, a horse trailer and an unoccupied bus along its path.

Lieut. Ernie Jesch of the Washoe County Sheriff's Department said Joseph Valenzuela, a pastor from nearby Gardnerville, Nev., was killed by the slide, which began at 10:45 A.M. on Slide Mountain on the east flank of the Sierra Nevada between Reno and Carson City.

The sheriff's office said one person was missing and at least six people were injured. The slide destroyed seven homes, nine vehicles and a motor home, Sgt. Jeff Wise of the sheriff's office said. Slide Near State Parks

The slide occurred north of two state parks busy with Memorial Day picnickers. The area included in the slide was part of the Toiyabe National Forest and is used for hiking, picnicking and horseback riding.

''Particularly being the Memorial Day weekend, there were a lot of people in the area and we don't have any accurate count of just how many,'' Sergeant Wise said.

The slide occurred when a snow-covered portion of Slide Mountain gave way and crashed into Upper Price Lake, said Forest Service Ranger H.B. Smith. The mud and debris formed a dam in the lake that eventually gave way, sending the debris into Lower Price Lake, which then overflowed.

The result was a 5-@ to 15-foot ''wall of water'' and mud that collected trees and other debris as it crashed down the hillside, he said.

Anne Ogilvy, a Washoe Valley resident, said she fled the mud and watched helplessly as her $200,000 house was crushed by mud and debris.

Kathleen Kline, 61 years old, was flown by helicopter to the Washoe Medical Center, where she was reported in satisfactory condition with a leg injury, a hospital spokesman said.

Her neighbor, Mark Stafford, said he had rescued Mrs. Kline after she was carried by flowing mud for more than half a mile. Rescue workers were being assisted by helicopters from the nearby Fallon Naval Air Station. ---- Two Slides Hit Utah

Landslide Risk Always Exists in Nevada

Posted: Mar 25, 2014 4:44 PM PST Updated: Apr 01, 2014 7:05 PM PST
Between one and two dozen people are killed by landslides in the U.S., every year. And that statistic hit close to home more than 30 years ago when a landslide killed a man in Washoe Valley.
It was Memorial Day in 1983 when a large chunk of earth came crashing down on the southeast side of Slide Mountain.
An eyewitness at the time told Channel 2 News, "All of a sudden, all the trees started coming down. You could see them getting knocked down and we thought it was a bulldozer and everything, trees and logs and everything came over. So, we put it in reverse and backed down to the house."
The slide in Washington state was the result of heavy rainfall. The one here happened because of snow runoff. "That had been a very heavy winter and then it warmed up very quickly, that May. And that snowpack saturated the rocks up there with water and then they gave way," says state geologist Jim Faulds.
The landslide fell into upper and lower price lake causing an overflow that sent millions of gallons of water down the hill. Boulders the size of cars took out everything in their path. Ernie Jesch was with the Washoe County Sheriff's Office, at the time. "First responding officer came back and reported that there was 15 feet of mud across the road. I was on my way out and thought that's not much mud. But he didn't mean 15 feet across. He meant 15 feet deep."
A Gardnerville man was killed in the mudslide and several others were injured. It also destroyed seven homes and ten vehicles.
A series of landslides have happened, because of how the layers of the mountain are angled. "You saturate the rock, you fill those fractures with water and that can fail and come down the mountain," says Faulds.
Faulds says it's possible we could see this type of event in our area in the future simply because of the terrain and weather patterns. "Anywhere you have large amounts of topographic relief, mountains and significant rainfall, you can get landslides."
Geologists are keeping an eye on a slow-moving landslide in Mogul that's been slowly creeping over time. There's no development underneath it, but it could impact the Truckee River if it were to break off.
Written by Paul Nelson