This year’s flooding in Barstow looks different than years past, but the acting fire chief of the Carbon Cliff – Barstow Fire Protection District says it’s just as dangerous.
“Everybody’s kind of scratching their heads a little bit,” said acting chief Ryan Cameron. “It’s kind of going around the back side of fields … It’s filling in points that we’ve never had it fill before.”
Cameron said there’s usually just one levee that gives them trouble — on Saturday there was water already flowing over it. But this time, Cameron thinks and agricultural levee must have failed too.
“That’s why it’s taking so long for it to actually come into the town,” Cameron said.
While they wait on the water, the fire department is preparing.
“We’re working on finishing our wall that we built around the fire station and that’s just to protect our critical infrastructure here to make sure this doesn’t go under,” Cameron said.
Back in the flood of 2013, the water came half way up their sandbag wall.
The river crested just over 19 feet then and the National Weather Service is predicting it crests just under that Sunday night.
This time residents don’t know what to expect.
“They’re being a lot more extra cautious and more careful,” Cameron said. “They’re definitely back stocking their sandbags and getting them ready to go. Usually by now everything’s already deployed and people have put them around their houses and stuff.”
Barstow Road is flooded over on the west side of town. The acting fire chief says they’ll go door-to-door evacuating when the other side is covered too. pic.twitter.com/WiSpphEPZS— Grace Runkel (@GraceRunkel) March 16, 2019
The road out of the west side of town is already flooded over. If the east side gets covered, they’ll start evacuations.
Cameron expects a significant rise over the next 12 hours.
“We’re trying to get everybody prepared to evacuate. We’re not making it mandatory,” he said. “We’re just trying to make sure they’re being proactive, that they’re prepared to evacuate when the time is needed.”