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Washington Fire Burn Area Surveyed Ahead Of Storm

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Sonora, CA — An atmospheric river storm system is expected to arrive in California late this weekend and into Monday.

Tuolumne County officials are bracing for up to five inches of rain during a short period. It will follow today’s smaller storm system.

Local officials have been investigating whether the Washington Fire burn area is at risk of debris slides or flooding over the coming wet fall and winter months.

Tuolumne County OES Coordinator Dore Bietz says a meeting was held this week with Caltrans officials, Tuolumne County leaders, Forest Service soil scientists and others. There was also a separate recent meeting with California Office of Emergency Services geologists.

Bietz reports, “We learned a lot, including that our 136 acre Washington Fire is not a concern of many entities (for unwanted debris slides). It does not have the acreage of burned area that you would see necessitate a debris flow projection plan. There just isn’t enough acreage to collect water.”

There is also an old and now unused stretch of Highway 108 that will help serve as a natural catch basin for one side of the fire in the event of heavy rain.

However, if some culverts in that area become clogged, there remains potential for some debris to still get through. Officials plan to watch that situation closely. If some debris came through, the areas nearby impacted would likely be around Highway 108 and Stockton Road. That said, officials believe the risk for heavy debris flows is minimal, and indicate there is not a need for people in the area to be concerned.

Bietz notes that road crews will be keeping tabs on all of the various roads the county during the storm event.

She adds that there is sand available, free of charge, at four locations. You will need to bring your own bag and shovel.

  1. Columbia Airport parking lot @ 10723 Airport Road
  2. Tuolumne Road Yard @ 18870 Birch Street
  3. Jamestown Road Yard @ 18188 7th Avenue
  4. Big Oak Flat/Groveland Road Yard @ 11240 Wards Ferry Road

Also of note, free sandbags, and sand, are available at various locations in Calaveras County.

1.       Arnold Maintenance Yard, 1119 Linebaugh Rd. (Closes at 3:30pm)

2.       Glencoe Maintenance Yard, 16151 Hwy 26 (Closes at 3:30pm)

3.       Jenny Lind Yard 11558 Milton Rd. (Closes at 3:30pm)

4.       San Andreas Rd Yard, 891 Mt Ranch Rd. (Closes at 3:30pm)

5.       Mountain Ranch Community Center Parking lot next to the Public Safety Substation, 7869 Whiskey Slide Rd.

6.       Murphys Fire Station, 37 Jones St.

7.       Vista Del Lago Cul-de-sac near Valley Springs Dental, 313 Vista Del Lago

8.       Mangili Rd. Cul-de-sac at Valley Springs Sports and Fitness, 145 Mangili Rd.

9.       Copperopolis Fire Department, 370 Main St.

10.   West Point Volunteer Fire Department, 195 Spink Rd.

Additionally, the city of Angels Camp is providing free sand and bags at the police department located at 200 Monte Verde Street. The public is asked to bring their personal shovel and limit the number of sandbags to ten per resident to ensure adequate supply.

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