MALIBU (CBSLA) — Malibu residents on Friday were filling up sand bags and bracing for rain.
The storm could threaten to unleash mudslides and debris flow in burn areas scarred from the recent Woolsey Fire.
“We figure better safe than sorry. Especially after the fires and stuff,” said Caleb Hobbs. “We don’t want to take any chances.”
Ditto for Jonathan Spoer, who was filling a second load to help defend land laid bare by the Woolsey Fire.
“Just trying to protect a hillside that’s getting a little bit of erosion,” said Spoer. “It’s all the canyons that drain into it.”
Caltrans crews have been preparing for rain for three days — clearing drains and building up berms to channel water off roadways. They are focusing especially on hillsides with no vegetation like those along Route 23 or Decker Canyon Road. And Pacific Coast Highway where last week a river of mud and debris trapped cars.
“We are preparing for the worst to come but we’re also hoping for the best,” said Eric Menjivar from Caltrans.
HOLY FIRE BURN AREA BRACES FOR RAIN
Lake Elsinore residents were also making storm preparations as Holy Fire burn areas could be threatened by mudslides and debris flow.
Crews worked through the dark on Friday night to move a massive mound of dirt and debris.
In the past week they’ve removed 2,700 truckloads of mud from the Leach Canyon debris basin.
In December’s storm, all of the mud washed downhill from the Holy Fire burn scar.
“It’s scary. I’ll be honest with you. It’s scary,” said Sue Engelhardt.
This time around Engelhardt has sandbags stacked tall around her property.
Last month mudflow ot out of the culvert 20 feet in the air directly toward her home.
“It was probably 20 to 25 feet up in the air when it hit,” said Engelhardt. “Washed out the entire road.”
Luckily, most of the mud filled the ditch alongside her home.
“They’re taking the dirt out because they’re afraid with this next storm coming through it’s gonna be filled up again and those berms aren’t gonna hold,” said Engelhardt.