There are weeks where it feels like one thing after another. Just as the Woolsey Fire is snuffed out, we learn that rain is on the way — it’ll be here tonight. For most parts of the world, a downpour would seem like a good thing. For a state that’s still in the throes of a drought, it should be a good thing. But in the wake of a devastating megafire, rain of any kind — even just the one inch forecasted for today – can be a scary proposition.
The fear tonight is that the rain will trigger mudslides in the Woolsey fire burn zone, especially considering these fires occurred in steep mountain terrain. Neighborhoods once threatened by flames now have to worry about the earth swallowing their homes whole. Just this past January, 21 people were killed in mudslides in Santa Barbara County following the devastating Thomas Fire. With 96,000 acres freshly scorched across Ventura and Los Angeles counties, officials are concerned and are urging residents to prepare. Just a quick glance at the image below, and you’ll know why.
The burn scar from the Woolsey fire is so large, it’s visible from space.
Writes Emily Holland from Patch.com, “In preparation for rain – anticipated Wednesday night into Thursday – officials in Los Angeles and Ventura counties have transitioned into emergency response mode, with an emphasis on debris, flood fighting and support activities. Those activities include the monitoring of all flood facilities and equipment, the operation of debris dams and providing logistics support, field operations and responses to emergencies.”
Residents are urged to ready their properties, too. The following are all recommended, per the VCFD’s “Ready for Rain Safety Tips” page.
- Clear debris from curbside gutters and drains in yards, driveways and pool decks, and inspect roofs to check for loose tiles, holes, or other signs of trouble.
- Research flood insurance plans and coverage needs.
- Clear and place sandbags in problem areas if an area has been affected by wildfire or if there have been past flooding problems.
- Inspect storm drains before and after heavy rainfall. If blocked, contact your City Public Works Department or Ventura County Public Works at (805) 654-2001.
For people in need of them, free sandbags will also be made “available to homeowners in the recent burn areas, including Fire Stations 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 32, 33, 34, 36, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 52, 53, 54, 56, and 57.” For a list of VCFD fire station, you can go here. “Please call ahead to your local VCFD fire station at (805) 371-1111 for availability,” requests the VCFD. “Residents should be prepared to fill and transport sandbags as fire station personnel may or may not be available to assist due to other emergency activities.”
Be careful even after the rains are over. “Use extreme caution when crossing roads or areas of flowing water. Flowing water can be dangerous and deceivingly deep.”
For more information, including on road road closures and evacuations, you can go here. Remember, even if this storm doesn’t cause any issues, that doesn’t mean the next one won’t. The rainy season will soon be upon us, so make sure you remain vigilant and stay on top of updated weather reports.
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Check Out These References for Further Reading:
“Rain may help California firefighters but bring more misery for Camp Fire evacuees.” CNN. Retrieved 21 November 2018. https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/21/us/california-fires-wednesday/index.html
“Upcoming Rain to Cause Mudslide Risk in Burn Areas.” NBC Los Angeles. Retrieved 21 November 2018. https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Rain-to-Cause-Mudslide-Risk-in-Burn-Areas-500782381.html
“Rain Brings Threats Of Mudslides To Woolsey Fire Burn Area.” Patch.com. Retrieved 21 November 2018. https://patch.com/california/malibu/rain-brings-threats-mudslides-woolsey-fire-burn-area
“Ready For Rain Safety Tips.” Ventura County Fire Department. Retrieved 21 November 2018. http://vcfd.org/news/308-ready-for-rain-preparedness-tips-and-sand-bag-information