Rain could bring landslides to Mt. Diablo burn scar area

Rain could bring landslides to Mt. Diablo burn scar area

18 November 2013

published by www.ktvu.com

USA — The first significant rain of the season is expected Monday evening in the North Bay. Forecasters say we should have rain over most of the Bay Area by Tuesday.

Erosion experts warn there could be some slides on Contra Costa County’s Mount Diablo in the area that burned two months ago.

State experts say they’re actually eager for this rain.

About 3700 burned acres on Mount Diablo are vulnerable after intense heat killed vegetation in many areas.

“It is very menacing looking,” said Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mike Marcucci. “For the people who live at the base of the mountain it is truly menacing looking, it’s black,” he said.

Some residents told KTVU they worry the incoming rain could trigger landslides.

Morgan Territory Road resident Kristin Jensen pointed to the blackened slope not far from her house. “It could come across the road, block the road our access into town, it could damage peoples homes,” she said.

But erosion experts who spoke to KTVU say they’re confident.

“There’s always a small amount of soil movement when we have rain events, but we don’t anticipate anything major,” said State Parks Scientist Cyndy Shafer.

She said some slides are inevitable during the first storms following a wildfire, but that crews are able to protect damaged slopes with an unusual technique using air tankers and bulldozers.

The ‘dozer lines likely saved the mountain but damaged steep slopes according to firefighters.

Repairing those required something familiar to golfers, essentially divots, described Shafer. “(They break) up the flow of water that would cause erosion,” she explained.

A couple of days after the first light rain helped nourish the shrubs and grasses that survived said Chief Marcucci. “What we noticed was the fire didn’t burn as hot as we thought it would have in some places therefor there’s a root system still well in place,” he said.

As long as the next few days bring light rain, erosion experts say, those scary slopes should stay put.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien