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March 2, 2021

Severe weather triggers evacuation warnings for wildfire burn areas in Monterey County

Upcoming storm could cause life-threatening debris flows

UPDATE: The evacuation warning has been upgraded to an evacuation order for the River, Carmel and Dolan fire burn scar areas and evacuation zones effective Jan. 26 at 4 p.m. Temporary evacuation points have been set up at Toro Park School, 22500 Portola Drive, Salinas; Chualar Union Elementary School, 24285 Lincoln St., Chualar; and Carmel Valley Library, 65 West Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley.


MONTEREY COUNTY — Monterey County Sheriff’s Office has issued an evacuation warning for residents who live within one and two miles downslope of the River, Carmel and Dolan fire burn scar areas due to an upcoming storm with the potential for life-threatening debris flows.

The evacuation warning took effect Monday at 4 p.m., and county officials are expecting to upgrade it to an evacuation order at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. In addition, a flash flood watch is currently in place for the wildfire burn areas.

“Residents in these areas are urged to consider leaving the area before an evacuation order is issued due to the potential for storm damage and debris flow blocking exit routes,” said Maia Carroll, the county’s communications coordinator.

Beginning late Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service is predicting 8 to 10 inches of rain over the course of the storm in the Santa Lucia Mountains and Los Padres National Forest west of the Salinas Valley, which would impact all wildfire burn scar areas. 

“The Evacuation Warning that will be in place will be upgraded to an Evacuation Order if the Flash Flood Watch in place upgrades to a Flash Flood Warning, but those who live in dangerous areas are highly encouraged to consider leaving sooner for their safety,” according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Office. “Due to heavy winds, those who need to leave one of the impacted areas could find exit routes impassable. Once an Evacuation Order has been issued there will likely be less than 30 minutes to evacuate.”

An evacuation warning means residents should be prepared to leave immediately with a “go bag” and planned evacuation route.

“If your situation requires more time to evacuate than an Evacuation Order allows, consider leaving early to avoid delays due to traffic congestion,” the release continued.

Residents can go to co.monterey.ca.us/winterstorm to find out which evacuation zone they reside in. To register for emergency alerts, visit alertmontereycounty.org, or text “MCWINTER” to 888777 to receive text message updates.

Ryan Cronk
Ryan Cronk
Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.

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