Fresno County residents pack sandbags, prepare for incoming storm

Jessica Harrington Image
Thursday, March 9, 2023
Evacuation warnings issued for parts of Fresno County ahead of expected storms
Evacuation warnings have been issued for parts of Fresno County ahead of expected winter storms.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno County residents were taking the warning from officials seriously Wednesday.

The county sandbag location in Sanger was busy with people.

Cal Fire Fresno County firefighters helped load up sandbags for residents.

"I did bring my shovel I didn't know they were going to be here doing this. So it's really nice it's great to have the help," Mary Hilvers said.

Hilvers picked up sandbags for her, her mother and her children's homes.

They live just off Highway 180 and Piedra, near the Kings River.

She says they're keeping a close eye on the water there because it could flood their ranch.

"It all depends on how full that river gets and whether it can stay in the banks." Hilvers said.

Charlie Gann lives off Shields and Bethal Ave.

This is the second time he's picked up sand bags in the last three months to protect his home.

He says his neighbor's land is already filled with water and he's concerned, as more comes in with the storm, it'll reach his house.

"If the water gets around my house, it gets around it, as long as it doesn't come in my house," Gann said.

On Trimmer Springs Road below Pine Flat Dam, driveways to people's homes are already covered in water.

Some residents told us they're planning to leave by Thursday afternoon before the water gets any higher.

Down the road at Wonder Valley Ranch Resort, storm preparations are underway.

"Hopefully the creek won't come up and hit it but if it does, we'll do the best we can," President and CEO Roy Oken said.

Oken says in January two buildings were damaged when the Kings River flooded.

While the majority of the property was fine, they have since built berms along the river and added sandbags around the buildings that were impacted last time.

Guests who had reservations this weekend decided to reschedule for better weather.

Oken says staff will be on site to monitor the river, and he's keeping a good attitude about the possible issues.

"We anticipate getting wet and hopefully not having to swim," Oken joked.

The county announced late Wednesday afternoon that they will be opening an evacuation shelter.

It will open Thursday morning at 9 a.m. at the Reedley College Gymnasium.

Pets that can be kenneled are allowed.

The Fresno County Fairgrounds is open for all large animals that need a place to go.

The shelter in Reedley will remain open until the evacuation warning or any potential orders are lifted.

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