The Board of Supervisors Tuesday will decide whether to continue using the services of two contractors hired by the Riverside County Flood Control & Water Conservation District to perform work intended to mitigate mud and debris flow risks around areas affected by the “Holy Fire” in the Cleveland National Forest.
Corona-based KEC Engineering and Murrieta-based KIP Inc. were retained in mid October to handle the implementation of hazard mitigation measures and be on-call for post-storm cleanups in Lake Elsinore and the Temescal Valley. The firms were placed under contract on an emergency basis at an estimated cost of $1.5 million, soon after Hurricane Rosa generated disturbances throughout the region.
Flood Control & Water Conservation District General Manager Jason Uhley selected the contractors without seeking competitive bids, requiring the board to approve retention of the firms on an ongoing basis.
According to county officials, the contractors’ crews have been deployed to install inlet and spillway protection structures, establish interim diversions to prevent damage to district facilities and public rights of way, and to clear mud, rocks and debris from public spaces under the county’s jurisdiction, including El Cariso, Glen Ivy Hot Springs and Horsethief Canyon.
There are emergency projects underway along the forest boundary facing Lake Elsinore and the Temescal Valley, officials said.
Communities in the area were placed under a mandatory evacuation order from Wednesday afternoon to Friday morning because of flooding and mudslide threats triggered by the region’s first major storm of the rainy season. Some property damage occurred, and multiple roads were temporarily closed due to flooding, but no lives or homes were lost.
The Holy Fire, allegedly the work of an arsonist, scorched roughly 23,000 acres in August and early September. The burn scar, stretching from Santiago Peak in Orange County to the lower slopes in Riverside County, has created a vast denuded space over which water and mud can flow downhill in high volume.
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