With a flash flood warning issued and rain forecasted to pour in over the weekend, a map of the Cave Fire’s impact on the region, which the County of Santa Barbara notified the community about through a statement, provides some insight on the situation.
The map displays affected watersheds, debris basins within affected watersheds, and potentially impacted land parcels. The map also shows affected watersheds’ 500-year flood zone, a zone which the Federal Emergency Management Agency defines as an area with a 1 in 500 (0.02 percent) chance of flooding in any given year.
The 500-year flood zone within affected watersheds is centered on the Atascadero Basin, which seems to be where the Atascadero Creek and the Maria Ygnacio Creek meet. Businesses that are in the zone include Por La Mar Nursery.
Several other regions of residential units are also in the 500-year flood zone. Houses between Hollister Avenue and Atascadero Creek between Atascadero Drive and Magna Vista Street form a significant block of units that could be under threat in case of a flood. Another significant block is bordered by Cathedral Oaks Road, Highway 154, Highway 101 and El Sueno Road.
These are only some of the regions highlighted by the map. To check if your home is in a potentially impacted area, visit readysbc.org and look for the Cave Fire & Storm Impact Awareness Map. On the map, viewers can insert their address to see if they are in a flood zone.
“Public safety officials will evaluate each incoming storm and determine what protective actions, if any, the public should take,” read the County of Santa Barbara’s statement. “Residents should be prepared to take action and follow the instructions of public safety officials. Protective actions may include relocating prior to a storm’s arrival, sheltering in place, moving to higher ground, or evacuation…If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe at any time, do not wait for instructions and relocate from your area.”
For the Weather National Service forecast maps, visit weather.gov/forecastmaps.
A flash flood warning has been issued for the communities below the recent Cave Fire burn area.
According to the National Weather Service, the warning is in effect from 4 a.m. to noon on Wednesday. Due to fresh burn scars from the Cave Fire, the area is at heightened risk of debris flows and flooding, with that risk due to last all season.
Rain began to fall in the area on Tuesday night, with the showers expected to be heavier in the overnight hours.
According to some forecasts, rainfall rates are expected to be between 0.5 and 1 inch per hour.
The warning message indicated “road closures and property damage may occur due to mud and debris flows.”
It went on to instruct residents to be alert.
“Residents in or below the recently burned areas are urged to take the steps necessary to protect their property. Persons in the watch area should remain alert and follow directions of emergency preparedness officials.”
While rain is expected to end on Wednesday night, forecasts do currently call for showers on Saturday.
The Cave Fire is at 90 percent containment, with the opportunity for 100 percent on Wednesday, depending on weather conditions.
For more information and to sign up for alerts from Santa Barbara County, visit ReadySBC.org.