The winter storms make our County vulnerable to debris flow, flooding, mudslides and rockfall.
The threat of intense rain and melting snow requires action by residents within the burn area and even those living near water courses that flow out of our mountains. Homes below slopes and near water courses could be damaged with flood waters, mud and debris. There is a real threat to the highway and roads being destroyed which could isolate mountain communities for 7 days or more with no supplies or utilities.
If at any time you feel unsafe, take immediate action and do not wait for a notification to evacuate.
As storms approach this winter, authorities will do all they can to give warning to people as early as possible. Some people will be ordered to evacuate while others will be told to have a plan to protect themselves. It is essential that residents know the threats to their property as well as to their community.
Here are things residents should consider:
- Sign-up for emergency alerts
- Review the interactive map to know if you are in an Extreme-Risk Area or a High-Risk Area
- Have an evacuation plan if you are ordered to leave
- Identify where high ground is in case you cannot evacuate
- Always have a coat, hat, boots, gloves, car keys and a flashlight near the front door in case you have to flee to high ground in the rain
- If you have to shelter in place, go to a second floor or to the center of the house
- Harden your home to erosion, flooding, and mudslides prior to winter rains by sandbagging, placing wattles and clearing drains
When a Storm is Predicted
When the National Weather Service (NWS) forecasts that a storm is capable of causing a debris flow in the Creek Fire burn area they will notify the Fresno County authorities 72 hours ahead of time and will continuously update the County about the storm prediction.
The County will notify the public using “Ready Set Go.”
- 72 hours or less – Get Ready
- 48 hours or less – Get Set
- 24 hours or less – Go
Quickly Developing Storm
Some storms develop quickly without warning. Particularly in the Sierra Nevada mountains, a thunderstorm can produce a high intensity storm that could produce flash flooding, debris flows, mudslides or rockfall. When a storm like this occurs authorities will have little or no time to alert the community; residents must have a plan to protect themselves. This includes knowing where high ground is and how they will get there. If a person cannot get to high ground safely, they should consider going to the second floor or the center of their house.
Always have a coat, shoes, flashlight and car keys near the front door in case you have to leave quickly.
Issued to residents, campground visitors, and persons in or near burn area risk areas identified on the Storm Risk Map, when a weather system of significance is anticipated to reach a burn area and or a Flash Flood Watch has been issued by National Weather Service.
- Threat to life is not yet imminent for most properties; however, the potential for rapidly changing conditions to develop into a serious threat and/or a high risk for life and property does/or might exist.
- People with access and functional needs and those with large animals will be urged to leave now.
- Some individual properties may be at extreme risk and those residents must determine the threat and should evacuate.
- People with access and functional needs and those with large animals will be urged to leave in this messaging.
- Issued when threat to life is imminent and conditions exist, or will exist, that seriously endanger the lives of those in risk areas. This is a lawful order to leave, and the area will be closed to public access.
- The National Weather Service has issued a Flashflood Warning or is expected to issue a warning.
- Extreme risk to property and/or access roads exists.
- Non-Dependent adults who refuse to comply with an evacuation order will not be forcibly removed but should not expect rescue or other lifesaving assistance after the onset of the emergency event.
If at any time you feel unsafe, take immediate action and do not wait for notification to evacuate.
Shelter-In-Place means finding a safe location indoors and staying there until given an “all clear” or told to evacuate. Residents may be asked to Shelter-In-Place because it is unsafe to leave their current location. A Shelter-In-Place order may include additional instructions such as “shelter-In-place or go to high ground” (whichever is safest) based on an individual’s specific set of circumstances. Residents should plan to self-sustain until further notice.
Protecting Your Property
It is your responsibility to protect your property and to prevent material or erosion from your property impacting adjoining properties during winter rains and snowmelt.
The County recommends that you hire a licensed engineer, geologist, or other qualified professional to evaluate your property the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) may be able to provide guidance on how to protect your property.
The local Resource Conservation District may be another agency that could provide assistance.
There is recently approved individual federal financial assistance to help with erosion control efforts. Applications are due at the end of December. Visit California Wildfire Disaster Recovery | NRCS California to apply.
FEMA Flood Insurance
With the potential for significant flooding and debris flows affecting individual properties, it is recommended that property owners obtain flood insurance.
Most homeowner’s insurance does not cover floods from natural disasters. Contact your local insurance provider and make sure your home is protected. You can also find additional information on the National Flood Insurance Program at fema.gov/flood-insurance.