Vista burn area assessment complete but mitigation strategy is still evolving

Perry Van Houten, Ojai Valley News reporter
Ventura County officials, concerned about possible debris flows, have completed their assessment of the fire-scarred slope above Highway 33 in Casitas Springs.
They’re now working to see what, if anything, can be done to stabilize the hillside stripped mostly bare of vegetation in the Vista Fire Oct. 24.
“We’re in the early stages of strategizing what mitigation could occur,” said Kevin McGowan, assistant director at the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services (OES). “Not all things can be mitigated,” he added.
County geologist Jim O’Tousa was a member of the assessment team and said the burn area will be prone to debris flows with rainfall, and has a potential for rock fall without rain.
“The burn area will be susceptible to these type of failures until the vegetation is re-established to reduce raindrop impact dislodging material and the roots are able to hold the material in place,” O’Tousa explained.

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