Tulare County community meeting to address winter threats after Pier Fire

Friday, November 03, 2017 11:00PM
The possibility of rockslides and mudslides especially along Highway 190, where the Pier Fire burned and has left large areas of earth exposed to flash flooding and erosion.

The last time Action News sat down with Camp Nelson's unofficial mayor was in August. The Pier Fire was threatening the small community Mo Ray has called home for nearly four decades. But thanks to firefighters, the fire never touched Camp Nelson.
It reached 100 percent containment more than a month ago.

"I'm glad they were able to stop it where they did," Ray said.

The smoke may be gone, but Ray knows winter storms are coming, and with them, the possibility of rockslides and mudslides. The threat is greater along Highway 190, where the Pier Fire burned and left large areas of earth exposed to flash flooding and erosion. Highway 190 is how Ray and others get down the mountain.

But Tulare County officials say they have been developing contingency plans in the event it is damaged.

"We had a little bit of rain last night, we've had a few easy storms, hopefully, get a little bit of grass growing," Ray said.

Friday, Caltrans crews were in the Pier Fire burn area, doing some preventative maintenance by clearing debris off the side of the highway. They're one of several agencies that will take part in a community meeting next Thursday, where officials will talk to residents about the wet weather risks and impacts.

The meeting will be at the Springville Veterans Memorial building.

Below is a press release about the meeting from Tulare County officials:

VISALIA, CA - Sequoia Crest, Camp Nelson, Ponderosa, Pierpoint Springs, Cedar Slope, and Upper Tule community members are encouraged to attend a community meeting scheduled for Thursday, November 9, from 6-7:00 p.m. at the Springville Veterans Memorial Building, located at 35944 CA-190, Springville, CA 93265.
The Tulare County Fire Department will present information about the potential for slope failures and road closures during flooding or heavy snow in these regions which experienced heavy fire activity during the Pier Fire this summer.
"The Tulare County Fire Department will continue to work with all agencies to ensure that those who live in communities affected by the fire will continue to receive effective services from our department as the winter weather approaches," said Charlie Norman, Tulare County Fire Chief.

Community members will also learn about life safety issues and preparedness, along with the Sheriff's role to coordinate road closures, implementing evacuations, and patrolling the area from the Tulare County Sheriff's Office.

"We will continue to work in collaboration with our County partners to ensure your safety in the aftermath of the Pier Fire," Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said. "However, along with the Highway 190 corridor, it's important for community members to recognize potential dangers such as flooding and erosion due to loss of ground cover. This winter, I ask that residents continue to be prepared and maintain vigilance in watching for potential dangers and to work with us to keep these areas as safe as possible."

Other presenters at the community meeting will include representatives from the Red Cross and the National Weather Service.

Representatives from the U.S. Forestry Service, Edison, Cal-Trans, California Highway Patrol, Services, the Office of Emergency, and the Resource Management Agency will be present to answer questions from community members.
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