In August and September of 2020, the devastating Apple and El Dorado fires left significant burn scars (burned land surfaces caused by a wildfire) in the mountains north of Beaumont and the pass area. The regions downhill from a burn scar are particularly at risk from debris flows and flooding. As assessed by the Watershed Emergency Response Team (WERT), due to the intensity of the fires and size of the area damaged on the hillsides the potential for debris flows and flooding risks exist for as long as two to three years beyond the initial fire event.
As water runs downhill through burned areas it can create major erosion and pick up large amounts of ash, sand, silt, rocks and burned vegetation (trees). The force of the rushing water and debris can damage or destroy culverts, bridges, roadways, and buildings even miles away from the burned area.
In response to the potential risk to our community, the City of Beaumont, the Beaumont Police Department, as well as our other allied Law Enforcement and Fire partners formed a task force to collaborate and coordinate emergency response in the event of a debris flow or flooding event. Read below on how we are working with our community to be Storm Ready.
Community Evacuation Maps
Riverside County Emergency Management Department (EMD) utilizes zones to alert residents of emergencies and to conduct evacuations. By knowing your zone you will be able to quickly react when evacuations are called for. When dangerous conditions approach, this risk map will show areas under evacuation warnings and orders:
It is important to check if your property is at risk so that you can be prepared. Public Safety officials will utilize these zones to alert residents of emergencies and to conduct evacuations. By knowing your zone you will be able to quickly react when evacuations are called for. Some of the areas most affected have unique topography and/or limited evacuation routes, so it’s important to plan ahead of time so that you can evacuate safely.
During evacuation warnings and orders, you should leave immediately and seek shelter outside all evacuation zones. If you are told to evacuate but you stay, you are risking your life. If you do not evacuate when evacuations are called for you could be isolated and trapped without help for many days, with roads impassible and utilities disrupted or destroyed.
- BLUE areas of the map indicate areas that are at risk for flooding, mud and debris flows. Impacts to these areas may include roads that may become impassible and deadly, as well as disrupted or destroyed utilities.
- YELLOW means a zone is currently under Evacuation Warning: Potential threat to life and/or property. Those who require additional time to evacuate, and those with pets and livestock should leave now.
- RED means a zone is currently under an Evacuation Order: Immediate threat to life. This is a lawful order to leave now. The area is lawfully closed to public access.
During evacuation warnings and orders, you should leave immediately and seek shelter outside all evacuation zones. If you are told to evacuate but you stay, you are risking your life. If you do not evacuate when evacuations are called for you could be isolated and trapped without help for several days. Plan ahead, be prepared, and let’s work together to keep our community safe.
- Flooding is the most common natural disaster in Riverside County
Many people living in a flood zone are unaware that they are.
Homeowners' insurance typically does not cover flood damage.
Just a few inches of water from a flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
- A car can easily be carried away by just one foot of rushing water
- Flash flooding in a burn scar is most likely during the immediate 2 years after a fire; however, the risk is still elevated until vegetation is reestablished.
COMMUNITY MEETINGS WERE HELD ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2020, AT THE BEAUMONT CIVIC CENTER
If you missed the community meetings you can also view a presentation from Riverside County Office of Emergency Management on YouTube HERE.