FALLBROOK, Calif. -- Almost a month after the Lilac Fire, communities in San Diego are bracing for a new threat: mudslides.
With the first significant rainfall in months due Monday in the San Diego area, county officials and Cal Fire firefighters are helping communities ravaged by the fire to take steps to protect their property.
“Even though there’s no smoke and the fire is basically is history, reality is the potential for damage still exists,” Cal Fire Captain John Heggie said. “So what we’re out here doing is filling sandbags, identifying those areas and trying to mitigate these issues as best we can,” Heggie said.
Last month, the fast-moving wildfire destroyed much of the Rancho Monserate Country Club in Fallbrook.
“Once the fire goes through basically all that vegetation is gone. Those roots that hold that soil down are now basically going to be exposed. So if we get any type of substantial rain, there’s a good chance we could have some outflow of material," Heggie said.
The lack of vegetation and roots on burned-out hillsides and canyons like the ones surrounding Rancho Monserate leaves them much more vulnerable to potential landslides, mudslides and flooding, putting the community at risk once again.
"There’s a steep drainage right behind this community so we’re putting those sandbags in those areas specifically to ensure that those houses don’t get any type of damage,” Heggie said.
The first of the rain is expected in the area Monday, so crews have one more day to clear drains and shore up the hillsides.
The county also is offering sandbags at more than two dozen locations in preparation for the wet weather.