Local authorities are watching the Lake Hemet area very closely tonight as a storm makes its way into Southern California. The main concern is burn scars from the Cranston fire earlier this year. Officials say loose soil and heavy rains don’t mix.
While Cal Fire and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department look over maps of the Lake Hemet area, residents and visitors are taking a slightly more lax approach. Many of them say they are not concerned about the potential for flooding.
Authorities though are not leaving anything to chance, telling residents to register at RIVCO ready.org where they can get electronic notifications if things take a turn for the worst.
“What we’re doing is taking proactive measures in the event that we get rain and it causes any type of significant mudslide or debris flow,” said Battalion Chief Dan Olson of Cal Fire.
“We’ve gone door to door throughout the community to let them know of the dangers of the area that they’re in, encourage them to be prepared,” said Jeremy Parsons, a deputy with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Steep hillsides are a reminder that a single rock slide could be deadly to anyone who finds themselves in its path, and concerns over the potential for heavy rain lingers among first responders.
“Sometimes the weather in this area is not predictable and they may be calling for a certain rain amount. It could be less or it could be more,” said Parsons.
A bridge near Hurkey Creek shows a water line above five feet following the last rainfall in the Lake Hemet area.
“With the rains and the burn scars there is the potential for possible mud or debris flow. And we want to make sure that they are kept out of harm’s way,” said Olson.