County Declares Desert Swath To Be In State Of Emergency

Thunderstorms in the Mojave Desert that occurred from October 12 through October 14 wreaked havoc that has continued to impact the communities of Flamingo Heights, Hidden River, Joshua Tree, Landers, Twentynine Palms, Yucca Valley and surrounding areas.
On Wednesday, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors convened a special meeting to ratify a proclamation of a local emergency relating to those areas, and committed more than $5 million toward redressing the major elements of the damage.
According to the county’s chief executive officer, Gary McBride, “Due to extreme drought conditions throughout the county, this storm system caused dangerous flash flooding, erosion and substantial mud and debris flows resulting in a need for emergency protective measures including emergency repairs and detours. On October 14, 2018, the San Bernardino County Operational Area, which coordinates emergency management provisions within the county, began the complex process of assessing the effects of the storm event. The storm saturated the ground causing flash flooding that resulted in damage to roads and homes. The damage assessment process was complicated due to inaccessibility and remoteness of some roads. Preliminary damage estimates to date for the roads within the county are approximately $5.3 million. This amount includes damage to the public systems, road damages, and debris removal. In addition, 100 homes with damage from the flash flooding and storms have been identified. This local emergency proclamation allows the county to seek potential federal and state reimbursement for the costs of damages and debris removal.”
McBride continued, “Currently, the roads damaged by the storm are clear and passable; however, limited funds are available to continue repairs or restore the roads to their previous condition. In the case of the county’s special districts division, work has stopped in the affected district, Landers R-15, due to the depletion of available reserves. On October 26, 2018, the assistant executive officer for human services, while serving as the director of emergency services, proclaimed the existence of a local emergency from this storm.”
McBride told the board that “approval of this item will ratify the action taken by the assistant executive officer for human services and continue the [declaration of] local emergency, as conditions that threaten the safety of persons and property may still exist. Pursuant to Government Code Section 8630(c), the board shall review the need for continuing the local [state of] emergency at least once every 30 days until the board terminates the local emergency.”
Mark Gutglueck

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