Thomas Fire: Preparing for Flood Hazards
VCPWA’s Watershed Protection District (WPD) oversees the county’s levee structures to protect life, property, watercourses, watersheds, and public infrastructure from the dangers and damages associated with flood and stormwater to protect life and property. WPD routinely maintains local water channels by clearing debris throughout the year.
From early modeling done by VCPWA WPD hydrologists, there were grave issues to highlight – mud, water and debris is projected to double in all flood channels, creeks and major waterways during this year’s winter rainfall.
Less than four weeks after the Thomas Fire burned, rainfall was projected in the forecast, putting VCPWA teams on high alert to monitor the newly burned areas as they were now greatly susceptible to debris flows and flooding, and dangerous for homeowners and their families residing in these regions, as well as motorists who travel the roads.
VCPWA WPD Operations and Maintenance crews worked every day for two weeks to clear new fire debris from barrancas and storm drains in order to prevent blockages that would overflow and runoff through several neighborhoods downstream toward the ocean. VCPWA and OES also collaborated to distribute sandbags to local residents where there was an increased risk of flooding.