Los Padres National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
Goleta, CA 93117
Within the last 3 days, the Federal Burn Area Emergency Response team has been concluding the special’s reports for the entire Thomas Fire area. From these reports, the final product will be packaged and handed over to Los Padres National Forest.
It is extremely important for everyone in the hazard areas to continue to pay close attention to the weather forecasts and to know your escape route, whether it is leading to higher ground or evacuating the area all together. Unless you are in a low lying area, sheltering in place may be your best option, since roads throughout the urban area will flood as was observed during the last heavy rain storm which came thru Southern California. Do not drive across any flooded areas as debris flows are very powerful and may easily flip a vehicle even when flows are only a foot deep.
Unfortunately, the risk of debris flows and flooding during heavy rains in areas below the fire will continue until the vegetation has recovered enough to protect the soil this can occur even in areas that have already flooded. Areas below the fire that were not affected in this last storm could be affected in future storms and will be at high risk of debris flows and flooding. Many areas have not received high enough rainfall intensities to produce these affects but could in future storms. Vegetation usually takes two to five years to fully recover after a fire, but significant re-growth and protection can take place even after one growing season.
As previously stated above, it is of the utmost importance to pay close attention to each weather alert, regardless of whether previous alerts resulted in debris flows and flooding or not. All areas below the fire will remain very hazardous throughout the 2018 rainy season.