May 20, 2019
Mountain fire zones shift to long term recovery
INLAND EMPIRE (INT) It may be weeks before the first soaking rains of fall and winter, but the warning signs are going up in areas where the summer wildfires left mountainsides barren.

Motorists and residents alike are being alerted to potential mudslides and debris flows during the rainy season.

Particular concern is being raised in the San Jacinto Mountains where the Cranston Fire denuded more than 13,000 acres. One summer storm triggered a debris flow on August 10th. Caltrans crews removed 325 trees so repairs to fire damaged roadways could begin. The first phase of repairs was completed in mid-August and next phase will make long term repairs to culverts, debris flow basins and slopes in preparation for winter storms.

Another mud flow covered Highway 38 near the Valley Fire at Forest Falls in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Officials warn that it could take five years for the mountain landscape to recover.

A similar situation exists in the Santa Ana Mountains where the Holy Fire charred 23,000 acres. Officials warn that of a 'high probability' that peak debris flows will increase two to seven times more than normal during the first and second year following the fire. Estimated erosion rate and debris flow potential are very high in the burn area, increasing the chance of floods. That area of the Cleveland National Forest has been closed to public entry until at least September 14, 2019.

Story Date: October 19, 2018
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