Efforts ongoing to protect Ventura County communities from flood hazards

Acres of land and vegetation now compromised by the Thomas Fires will have a recovery team consisting of Federal, State, Ventura County and City departments. The team is on high alert as these regions are extremely susceptible to debris flows and flooding.

From early modeling already done by the Ventura County Public Works Agency (VCPWA) Watershed Protection District hydrologists, there are grave issues to highlight – mud, water and debris are projected to double in all flood channels, creeks and major waterways during this year’s winter rainfall. In addition, the County of Ventura Geologist is also working directly with state and federal assessment teams during their site reconnaissance to discuss geologic conditions and provide Ventura County geologic overview and landslide hazard assessment.

“Now that the foundation of the affected land has been compromised, nearby communities will have an elevated risk of flash flooding and debris flows when the rains come,” explains Jeff Pratt, VCPWA Director. “We strongly advise homeowners near these burn areas to seek information on flood insurance options as soon as possible. Typical coverage takes 30 days to engage. Public Works will continue to monitor the burned areas at all times.”

Once the Thomas Fire has passed and the burned areas are deemed safe, County of Ventura Departments including the Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services (OES), Health Care Agency (HCA), Public Works Agency (VCPWA) Watershed Protection District (WPD) hydrologists, and the County Geologist from PWA Engineering Services Department (ESD), will perform site reconnaissance to gain information about the potential next disaster with upcoming rain events, such as flooding, high erosion, landslides and debris flows. Together, they will collaborate to develop models that will assess the status of the burned hillsides, map the area’s most prone to flooding and determine areas prone to mudflows and sliding.

For more information about County of Ventura recovery efforts and what you can do to protect yourself, click the “Rain Ready” button at http://venturacountyrecovers.org/.

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