In the Cleveland National Forest, a team of specialists this week examined the damage to the watershed and wildlife caused by the 5,000-acre fire that began Sept. 9 and evaluated the potential for floods this winter.
While a full report is not expected for several weeks, the most extensive damage to watershed occurred on the Riverside County side of the fire, particularly in Anderson Canyon north of the Glen Ivy area, said Kathy Turner, a U.S. Forest Service resource expert.
Because of the canyon's steep terrain, firefighters could do little more than build containment lines and let the blaze burn itself out--a tactic that destroyed much of the area's vegetation and has greatly increased the potential for winter flooding in the largely rural Temescal Valley.
The damage was less severe in Orange County and the Silverado Canyon area, where the fire, which raged for six days, had been deliberately set. Some of the canyon's 1,200 residents have expressed concern that unless action is taken quickly to reseed the blackened acres, they could be threatened by rain. But Turner said it appears that Silverado Canyon is less likely to encounter flooding than other areas.