On Friday, Grant and I attended the quarterly Multi Agency meetings in Big Sur. The Big Sur community is facing a real danger of catastrophic mud and debris flows this winter resulting from the devastating 240,000 acre Basin Complex Fire that took place in July. Without vegetation and ground cover, the steep slopes in the many watersheds will not be capable of handling the rains and runoff.

This gathering is one of many where Big Sur community leaders are meeting with Monterey County agencies to develop plans that attempt to give as much warning possible to residents and businesses of impending mud and debris slides. Of critical importance is the network of communications throughout Big Sur and the necessity of connecting the many areas separated by rugged terrain. A local CERT Team (Community Emergency Response Training) has also been established.

According to experts at the Office of Emergency Preparedness, a 3 hour, 1.9 inch storm may create a wall of mud and debris flow that will be life threatening. The OES has created maps identifying 120 high risk areas in Big Sur. As stated by a representative of OES, “The weather will tell its story this coming year. Last year, a relatively dry winter, there were 5 rain storms that would have triggered catastrophic mud slides. “ There is also the potential of up to 5 years of slides as the watershed terrain adjusts to new growth and a lack of stable slopes.

The following web sites are a resource for those wishing to seek further information.

http://www.surfire2008.org/

http://www.cpoabigsur.org/

http://www.oes.ca.gov/

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