There is a “heightened” risk of debris flows and flooding this rainy season in the fresh burns scars of the Cave Fire in the Santa Ynez Mountains above Santa Barbara, according to Santa Barbara County officials.
Major storms will be a “concern for several years” until revegetation removes the threat of debris flows, county spokeswoman Gina DePinto said in a news release Tuesday evening.
Federal Burn Area Emergency Response and California Watershed Emergency Response Team experts have been requested to compile scientific watershed data to evaluate short-term risk in the aftermath of the Cave Fire, a 3,126-acre blaze that broke out Nov. 25.
The fire was 90-percent contained on Tuesday, with full containment expected on Wednesday, depending on the weather.
A map was released Tuesday evening by public safety agencies to provide awareness of the Cave Fire burn scar, and to serve as an emergency preparedness resource for residents who live in and around the fire burn scar, DePinto said.
Residents can enter an address into the map to check where they are located in potential post-fire hazard areas.
The interactive online map includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s 500-year flood map that identifies areas vulnerable to flooding.
The southern foothills and surrounding communities in the county have experienced occasional rock slides and flooding.
“The public is encouraged to access this map to understand potential flooding zones, affected watersheds, creeks and streams that may be impacted during storms,” the news release said. “Residents are reminded that they may be located in historically flood-prone areas.”
Public safety officials will assess each incoming storm and determine what measure are needed, including possible evacuation warnings and orders.
“Residents should be prepared to take action and follow the instructions of public safety officials,” according to the release. “Protective actions may include relocating prior to a storm’s arrival, sheltering in place, moving to higher ground, or evacuation.”
Rain started falling in Santa Barbara County Tuesday night, with more expected throughout the week, according to the National Weather Service.
A Flash Flood Watch was issued for communities below the Cave Fire burn area, in effect through noon Wednesday.
» Sign up for Aware & Prepare emergency alerts here, or through the ReadySBC.org website.