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Ventura, Santa Barbara County Crews Still On Overtime To Prepare Debris Basins, Creeks For Storms

Crews work to prepare the Hall Canyon area, which was burned by the Thomas Fire, for potential future floodwaters and debris flows

Even as cleanup continues in Southern Santa Barbara County from the deadly January 9th flooding, efforts to prepare for future storms remain in high gear on the South Coast.  At the same time,  a South Coast event will help property owners learn what they can do to protect themselves.

In the foothills near Ventura High School, crews are busy cleaning out and preparing a barranca so it can handle the next big storm which heads our way. Similar scenes are happening throughout the region.

There’s even more of a sense of urgency in Southern Santa Barbara County, where 21 people died, and two are still missing from the big January 9th storm. Emergency clearance work has been completed in five of the 11 debris basins directly impacted by the January 9th storm.

Santa Barbara County Flood Control Director Tom Fayram says each day of dry weather is another day of progress. But, he says many channels are still filled with debris, and there’s weeks of work ahead just to get back to the clear waterways we had before the January 9th storm. Fayram says we aren’t even close at this point, and there are months of work still ahead for the crews.

If you live in, or around hillsides stripped bare by the Thomas brush fire, or other recent blazes, officials say you need to have a plan. Ventura County and the City of Ventura are hosting a Flood Preparedness Expo this weekend.

Ventura County Public Works Agency Director Jeff Pratt says they’ll have experts and contractors on hand to show ways to protect your property. And, people can also find out how to stay in the information loop during a crisis. The free expo will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Ventura’s Poinsettia Pavilion.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
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