Northern California, reeling from Camp Fire devastation, evacuates from flash floods


Satellite images show how the Camp Fire destroyed nearly 12,000 homes in Paradise, California.

As if the devastation from the recent wildfires wasn’t enough, Northern California had another battle brewing with Mother Nature on Thursday: flash flooding.

Three weeks after the devastating Camp Fire began, flooding closed part of California Route 99 in Butte County, stranding some motorists and spurring evacuation orders along multiple roads, according to the National Weather Service and the Butte County Sheriff. Rainfall over the burn scar also forced debris flow in and near the burn area.

Residents in the Camp Fire burn area should be on alert for life-threatening flooding of creeks, roads and hillsides, the weather service said. Heavy rain may also likely trigger rockslides, mudslides and debris flows in steep terrain. 

@CALFIRE_ButteCo Swiftwater Rescue Team deployed to the Butte Creek Canyon along with other firefighters and used one of the team’s boats to evacuate people from three homes in the area.

— CAL FIRE Butte Unit/Butte County Fire Department (@CALFIRE_ButteCo) November 30, 2018

Firefighters used a rescue boat to evacuate people from thee homes in the town of Butte Creek Canyon, according to the local fire department’s twitter page. A warning for Central Butte County, which includes the decimated town of Paradise, was in effect Thursday night, the Sacramento National Weather Service said. 

About two inches of rain fell by mid afternoon near the burn area. The heaviest rain fell between Chico and Paradise, extending west to Durham. Streams flowing out of the burn area were forecast to cause flooding near Chico and Durham, the weather service said. 

Residents were told to move from recently burned areas and find higher ground if they noticed movement of soil, debris, or large amounts of water.

Firefighters contained the Camp Fire, the nation’s deadliest fire in a century, on Sunday. It burned 153,336 acres and destroyed nearly 19,000 structures after starting Nov. 8 as a brush fire, according to the the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. 

More: Camp Fire: At least 196 people still on missing list; death toll remains at 88

More: More than 1,200 breweries answer Sierra Nevada’s call for Camp Fire relief beer

As of Wednesday, 88 people died and 196 were missing.

Southern California, still reeling from the Woolsey Fire, had its own flooding troubles. The Oxnard National Weather Service issued a flood advisory late Thursday afternoon. Minor debris flow, rockslides and mudslides were possible across Woolsey, South and Stone burn areas.

Downtown Los Angeles, Malibu, San Fernando Valley and Santa Clarita valley and mountains, could experience flooding, the weather service said. Travel delays during rush hour were predicted. 

The Woolsey Fire burned 96,949 acres, destroying 15,000 structures, including in celebrity-studded Malibu. It was contained on Nov. 21. 

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