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A Feather River Ranger District dozer operated by a wildland firefighter clears roads in the Milsap Bar area near Berry Creek on March 7 to help someone get out. Photo courtesy USFS

Forest Services asks residents to use extra caution during this storm

Plumas National Forest leadership is asking area residents and visitors to use caution in the forest as the pattern of winter storms continues and forecasts are indicating rain on snow.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the west side of the Forest from today through 10 a.m. Sunday and for eastern Plumas County through 11 a.m. Sunday.

A Flood Advisory was issued for both sides of the forest from 1 p.m. today until 11 a.m. Sunday.  Additionally, a Flood Watch is in effect from western Plumas County through the west side of the forest until 10 a.m. Sunday.

Large amounts of rain on recent snow can cause unstable conditions throughout the forest, not only in or near recent burned areas.

There is potential for slides and debris flows affecting forest roads, bridges, culverts, recreation sites, rivers and streams.

“Whenever we see potential for rain on snow events, our hydrologists, engineers and recreation staff are closely monitoring conditions and preparing to respond accordingly,” said Forest Supervisor Chris Carlton.  “During this shift in weather conditions, we are asking the public to stay aware of current conditions and travel or recreate safely.”

It is advised to avoid low-lying areas, including rivers and streams where flooding and debris flow can occur rapidly.  Avoiding recently burned areas and unstable slopes is also recommended.

Forest road conditions are poor as snow breaks up and roads become wet and muddy.  Travel on these roads is discouraged, as driving on saturated roads increases road damage, resulting in costly repairs which may take years to address.  The chances of getting stuck in these conditions is also higher, impacting emergency responders.

Area residents and visitors planning to travel or recreate in the forest should be prepared for the possibility that access becomes blocked.  It is encouraged to have a full tank of gas, as well as plenty of food, water, clothing and other supplies to be prepared.  It is recommended to let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back.  This helps if search and rescue becomes necessary.

Earlier this week, a dozer from the Feather River Ranger District, operated by a wildland firefighter, cleared roads in the Milsap Bar area near Berry Creek to help someone get out.

“We want everyone to have a safe and fun experience on the Plumas National Forest.  Sometimes that means delaying a trip for the sake of personal safety and preventing further resource damage,” Carlton said.

Forest leadership, including Plumas National Forest Fire and Aviation Management, have reached out to state and local agencies to offer emergency support during the storms, including equipment.

“These winter storms have provided several challenges to our local communities and public safety,” Carlton said.  “We are committed to providing support and helping out where we can.”

For those who come across storm-related damage in the Plumas National Forest, please contact your local office:  Beckwourth Ranger District (Blairsden) – 530-826-2575; Feather River Ranger District (Oroville) – 530-534-6500; Mount Hough Ranger District (Quincy) – 530-283-0555; Forest Supervisor’s Office – 530-283-2050.

For more information on the Plumas National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/plumas or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/USFSPlumas.


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