Due to the potential for flooding, mud flows and debris in and around the Freeway, Sayre and Tea fire burn areas, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has directed his Office of Emergency Services (OES) to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and prepare to help local agencies if assistance from the state is needed as a result of the forecast this week by the National Weather Service (NWS).
"The recent fires have left many communities, particularly those near and below steep canyons, very vulnerable to flooding, mud flows and debris flows," Schwarzenegger said. "The state stands ready to help local governments protect lives and property. It's also important that residents of those communities take steps to prepare now if they haven't already done so and evacuate immediately when asked to do so by local authorities."
In response to the weather forecast, OES has coordinated conference calls with representatives from FEMA, the NWS and emergency managers in the state's 11-county southern region to discuss weather, preparedness, response and recovery issues.
OES has also tasked the Department of Water Resources to provide flood fighting materials to Santa Barbara County and technical advisors to the city of Yorba Linda; tasked the California Conservation Corps to assist Yorba Linda with its flood fight preparedness efforts; and asked Caltrans to support the city by providing K-rails to keep mud flow away from homes and roads and cranes to move the K-rails.
Working with FEMA, OES has deployed joint state-federal Burn Area Recovery Teams to assess the potential for erosion, flooding, mud flows and debris flows in and around the burn areas of the recent fires and to make recommendations on possible mitigation measures.
As the state agency responsible for coordinating the state's response to major emergencies in support of local government, OES has the delegated authority to task state agencies to provide resources and services that are outside their normal statutory authority. OES is also responsible for coordinating the statewide mutual aid system for fire and rescue, law enforcement and emergency services. The system helps provide support to city and county agencies affected by an emergency when an incident threatens lives and property and is beyond their capabilities.
In preparation for possible flooding, debris flows and mud flows, state and federal officials recommend the public: