Santa Maria - North County

Alamo Fire burn zone remains debris flow concern

Tepesquet Canyon residents await next big rainfall

Alamo Fire burn zone remains debris flow concern

SANTA MARIA VALLEY, Calif. - The Thomas Fire that was followed by the deadly mud and debris flows in Montecito last month has other Central Coast communities living near recent wildfire burn areas more than a little concerned.

The Alamo Fire last summer left a large burn scar in the foothills of northeastern Santa Barbara County overlooking backcountry communities like Tepesquet Canyon east of Santa Maria.

"The fire burned all the way down to our defensible space zone", said longtime Tepesquet Canyon resident Renee O'Neill, "then during the rains last month, just a big mudslide, came right down the mountain, down the driveway, over the hill, over the bank and right onto the road and intro creek across the road."

The Alamo Fire scorched more than 30,000 acres along the western edge of Tepesquet Canyon forcing the mandatory evacuation of more than 150 homes.

Canyon residents know more mud and debris flows from the Alamo Fire burn area could happen again with significant rainfall.

"It was truly shocking to see what can happen when there is nothing in place to hold that debris basin back", O'Neill said.

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