Rain creates problems for mountain burn areas

POPPET FLATS, Calif. - The winter storms moving into our area are dropping lots of rain in the mountain communities, recently burned in the Mountain and Silver fires. Much of the mud and debris spilling into our valley is a result of the runoff from those areas. Storm clouds always draw concern from people in these communities as they are extra vulnerable to mudslides and damage as a result of the rain.

Steady rains sent a flood of mud and debris barreling through Poppet Flats and Twin Pines, areas burned during wildfire season as recent as six months ago. Residents are still weary about the danger big storms can bring. "Just anticipating for the worst, because there is one thing I've noticed up here is you never know," said Eric Brown, who lives in Poppet Flats.

The rain can come so quickly and without warning, turning these mountain dirt roads into muddy danger zones for drivers. "Flooded up, pushed me into the side of the hill," said Brown. "My truck got stuck, buried. So I'm walking."

The wet weather also made hazardous conditions on the roads up and down the mountain. Rain jarred several boulders loose on Highway 243, spewing them all over the road. A Cal Trans vehicle worked to clear the way, but one driver could not avoid the mess. "I just slowed down, there was a rock slide there," said John Garing. "I thought I was getting through it, then hit a rock."

Garing and his wife could only wait for help after a boulder damaged one of their tires. They made sure to warn other drivers about what can happen. "Be careful and drive slowly," said Garing. "Right now, it's getting pretty hairy out there."

While the rain let up on the mountain, the rushing waters serve as a reminder of how quickly things can change. "Just be really cautious," said Brown. "You never know what to expect."

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