A task force has been assembled and discussions have begun regarding the hazards of debris flows in the Santa Cruz Mountains CZU Lightning Complex burn zones. Winter rains are expected to trigger flooding and the accumulation of rock, earth, and tree debris can flow rapidly causing further damage to properties already impacted by the fire.
Felton Fire Chief Bob Gray spoke with the Post about the Debris Flow Task Force – a team of valley fire chiefs, emergency responders, flood planners, public works, geologists, hydrologists – all experts in their fields regarding debris flow and what to expect post-fire.
While the task force is focused on all regions in the burn zone, in the Felton area the team is taking a close look at Bull Creek and particularly Fall Creek with its steep topography and source of surface water for the SLV Water District. “We’ve already gotten started; the emergency watershed survey is done. Our work is still in its infancy as we work to assess what the damage is. We’re boots on ground and hiking the drainages, determining where vegetation is gone and where rocks and debris would be sloughing off,” Said Gray. “Everybody is in lockstep; we know we’re fighting the clock. We’re all just focusing on working with the scientists and on what’s coming next.”
Residents should keep a close eye out for warning signs:
- Listening for the sounds of trees cracking or boulders knocking together which might indicate moving debris.
- Rumbling sounds that increase in volume.
- Indications that fences, utility poles, retaining walls, boulders, or trees have shifted position.
- Avoid slide areas, additional slides may occur.
- Report debris flow indicators to emergency personnel.