Lake County

Mudslide, Flooding Dangers in Fire-Ravaged Lake County

Burn areas in fire-ravaged Lake County could face severe mudslides and flooding this winter.

This week's storm has rekindled the danger in the area.

"It's going to be one of the roughest winters for me in a long time," said Cathy Green, who has been living in an RV since losing her Anderson Springs house in the Valley Fire.

Green is now bracing for the next force of nature to roll in: El Niño.

"That RV could probably float if it had to, and I know how to swim," Green said. "Nothing could be as bad as fire."

Carol Huchingson, the county's fire recovery coordinator, said crews have been working hard to clear trees and debris, but there is still a lot left to tackle. She said charred and barren hills are also prime for mudslides.

"The heat of the fire was so intense it has baked the Earth in such a way it's like hard clay," Huchingson said. "And so it won't absorb rainwater like it normally would."

The county has sent out mailers warning residents of the dangers of landslides and flooding. Creeks in the area are already starting to swell.

The Hidden Valley Lake campground closed this week because of flooding and mudslide danger. A handful of campers, including Green, are still at the site trying to figure out their next move.

"I'm so grateful to Hidden Valley Lake Association for letting us stay as long as they did," Green said. "And I don't want to overstay my welcome, but I don't have anywhere else to go."

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