Rains Bring Mudslide, Erosion Concerns to El Dorado County

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The burst of rain is causing a lot of problems in the lower and higher elevations in El Dorado County.

Rain caused the roads to be extremely dangerous. 
Caltrans workers swept along side Highway 50 to clear away mud and fallen leaves.

The National Weather Service also advised drivers past Echo Summit to travel with chains.

White Meadows Road, off Ice House Road was closed to through traffic.
Residents in the King Fire burn area braced for mudslides. 
Many set up sandbags in front of their properties to prevent flooding and clogging.

Early moisture has already forced the National Forest Service to close off all dirt roads for the rest of the season in the El Dorado National Forest.

"The public should not be in the burned area,"Lawrence Crabtree, Supervisor of the El Dorado National Forest said. "We did that because of concerns of debris flows, and sediment that may be on the road. We just think it is just too dangerous area for the public to be right now."

That includes one of the more popular campgrounds- Hell Hole Reservoir.

"That is going to be closed until we can get the hazardous trees out of the campground and get the roads safe for people to access them," he said.

The rest of the paved campgrounds will remain open to the public. 
The rain has also suspended a multi-million dollar King Fire recovery project.

Last Friday, the King Fire Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team joined forces with SMUD to launch the 1,200 acre aerial mulching operation. Helicopters flew over the worst burned area and drop tons of rice straw to protect the remaining soil.

"We spent four to five days doing that and suspended that operation because the ground got so much moisture on it, and snow where that was, that we could not operate any longer," Crabtree said.

The BAER team only treated 300 acres of the planned 950 acre perimeter. 
SMUD got none of its planned 250 acres treated, which meant the reservoirs operated by the company for hydroelectric power will most definitely experience erosion.

Contractors originally had 18 days to complete the project. But with Mother Nature standing in the way, they will not be coming back to work for a few months.

"We may pick it up later," he said. "If we get a break in the winter, or we are more likely going to take a look at it in the spring."

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