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Valley communities prepare as storm system heads into Kern County

Posted at 12:10 AM, Oct 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-25 03:10:07-04

LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. (KERO) — Valley communities continue to prepare through the night as a storm system heads into Kern County. Communities say their biggest concern is the potential for flooding and mudslides.

“Anywhere that we have a recent fire, that is what we call a burn scar, has a greater potential of the runoff and debris to that would come with that,” Cary Wright said.

Wright is Division Chief with Kern County Fire, and says because of the increased threat, the department is deploying resources to communities affected by wildfire.

“We feel like that is going to be our highest possible area that something could happen. We have placed a couple of bulldozers up in the area, we’ve got what we call our hand crews, we’ve made available two helicopters,” Wright said.

The Kern County Fire Department brought in over 1,000 sandbags to both Lake Isabella and Kernville to assist with preparations.

“We have a lot of homes right at the base of these mountains that have burned and so there is a big potential of mudflows. They can build a wall to divert the debris to go away from their home,” Tom Klein said.

Tom Klein, the coordinator for Kern River Valley Community Emergency Response Team, says to save the sandbags for those who need it most.

“We really request that neighbors to be good neighbors and if you don’t live in the burn scar areas don’t come and get sandbags unless you do have a potential flooding when heavy storms occur, because the people in the burn scar areas, they’re the ones that are going to need these bags the most,” Klein said.

Klein says he is also prepared to help anyone in need.

“If we need to open up a shelter for people who need to evacuate, we’ll be set up here here at the veterans senior center,” Klein said.

Residents should prepare and protect themselves during the storm.

“Don’t drive through any types of standing water. The best advice I can give, is just stay home, protect yourself at home until the rain has subsided.”

The Kern County Fire Department says it’s important to receive emergency notifications, so make sure you are getting ReadyKern alerts for severe weather.

Sandbags are available behind the Kern River Valley Senior Center located at
6405 Lake Isabella Blvd, Lake Isabella, CA 93240.