Butte County Recovers-The official website for Butte County disaster response and recovery

Multiple Agencies Act to Prepare for Potential Post-Fire Floods and Debris Flows

Posted on November 20, 2018

Multiple state, regional, and local agencies are preparing for the potential impacts of storm weather in wildfire-impacted areas within Butte County and want to ensure community members are also prepared.

The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch in effect from Wednesday afternoon through Friday morning for the Camp Fire in Butte County. Rainfall over the burn areas is possible at times.

Properties impacted by the wildfires, and downstream of those areas, are at risk for flash flooding, mudflows and debris flows during periods of intense rainfall. Wildfires can alter the terrain and soil conditions reducing the capacity for the ground to absorb water creating conditions for these type of hazards. In addition, creeks and streams within burned watersheds have elevated risk of flooding, mud, and debris flows due to increased rain runoff and potential for sediment to fill channels and block culverts.

Road maintenance crews from Butte County and the Town of Paradise – in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, California Department of Water Resources, California Department of Transportation, and California Conservation Corps – are all working collaboratively to assess and reduce the risk of flooding and flow of ash from hardscape areas.

The mutual goal of this effort is to protect human life and critical infrastructure (bridges, roads, culverts, and flood protection facilities), wildlife, and the natural environment including streams and waterways. Efforts include:

  • Cleaning and checking culverts
  • Installing straw wattles and other best management practices around burn scar areas with high concentrations of ash within the Town of Paradise to prevent debris from entering waterways
  • Preparing crews to monitor areas of potential risks during the weather event to keep storms drains clear of sediment and debris

The National Weather Service Flash Flood Watch also advised that those traveling along portions of Highway 70 and the Skyway in Butte County should be alert for possible road problems due to flooding, rock, and debris flows. Residents in Butte County who have repopulated areas within the burn scar, or those who are downstream of that area, are reminded to remain vigilant and follow these steps:

  • Sign up for Emergency Mass Notifications – Visit Buttecounty.net/MassNotification to receive urgent alerts via phone call, text message or email.
  • Be aware of your risk – Pay attention to weather forecasts and those in low-lying areas should remain aware of your surroundings at all times. Listen to local authorities.
  • Be prepared – Prepare an evacuation plan. Always have an emergency evacuation kit ready and be prepared to evacuate early. Tips are available at www.ready.gov.
  • Take action – Don’t wait to evacuate if flooding or a mud flow appears imminent. Don’t walk or drive through flood waters.

For more information on current weather updates, visit the National Weather Service at weather.gov.

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