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Plumas declares state of emergency; prepares for what’s coming

By Debra Moore

[email protected]

The Plumas County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday, March 7, to declare a state of emergency in the county due to the storms that have battered Plumas and continue to do so.

County Administrative Officer Debra Lucero said that the declaration will provide the county 60 days to assess damages and report them to the state Office of Emergency Services. She said that typically each storm would be considered as one event, but that in this case they can be taken in total.

While the snow is expected to continue into Thursday, rains are expected at the end of the week, posing potential flooding issues. That was an issue that Lucero addressed when Public Works Director John Mannle appeared before the supervisors to give an update on his crews and their work during the storms.

Lucero asked Mannle about culverts and whether they are being cleared as debris flows are expected.

“Right now we are still trying to get the snow out of the way so that we can have two-lane roads,” Mannle said. “We can’t keep up with the drains if we can’t keep up with the snow.”

Mannle said that his crews are now going on 12 days with everyone working 12-hour shifts. He said that as time goes on, equipment is breaking down and some of his staff are falling ill. He is still running with a short staff and had emergency contractors on standby to assist, but only one has been able to help.

Sandbags could be needed by the end of this week and Mannle said that he is inventorying the stock. He estimated that 10,000 bags were distributed to local fire departments, but he isn’t sure how many they still have available. Mannle is hopeful that the rainfall will be light and the snow will be able to absorb it.

The other concern is runoff in burn scar areas. Lucero, who was previously a Butte County supervisor, said that she experienced that there. “The runoff is so much more because of the soil conditions,” she said and then asked if the Forest Service is involved.

“Right now we have multiple feet of snow on top of area that was severely burned … all depends on temperature and the amount of rainfall,” Mannle said. As for the Forest Service, the entities interact as needed.

More information about sandbags and potential flooding will be shared as it becomes available.

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