NORTH FORK — The Sierra National Forest has announced that due to public and employee safety concerns as weather conditions intensify, the Bass Lake Office has been closed temporarily.
Over the weekend the Sierra National Forest received a significant amount of rainfall and with the snow levels above 9000 ft., a large amount of snow from recent storms has melted in association with the rain.
This has created a significant amount of runoff swelling rivers and creeks, beyond their capacity. Early this morning, the Madera County Sheriff’s Office, in order to maintain public safety and security has issued an evacuation notice for several areas in the North Fork community.
The Sierra National Forest (NF) Bass Lake Ranger District office and residential areas have been affected by this issuance. District Ranger Denise Tolmie and Forest Supervisor Dean Gould have closed the offices in North Fork for employee and public safety until the threat and danger of flooding passes. Only essential emergency personnel remain, but are prepared to leave at a moment’s notice if necessary.
The National Weather Service continues to issue a Severe Weather Alert “Flood Watch” for the Sierra and surrounding San Joaquin Valley communities through Wednesday afternoon Jan. 11, as a line of storms impacting the area continue to move through to the East. A flood watch means that there is potential for flooding based on current forecasts.
Heavy rain of 1 to 3 inches is expected to continue over the next several days. Travel could be very difficult with some roads covered by water, blocked by fallen trees, or even washed out.
Avoid driving through unknown depths of water. You should monitor later forecasts as conditions can change, be alert for flood warnings and be prepared to take action should flooding develop.
For information regarding the Sierra NF, and recreational activities please contact the High Sierra Ranger District office in Prather at 559-855-5355 or the Forest Supervisors office in Clovis at 559-297-0706 until normal business can be resumed in the Bass Lake Ranger District. SNO will notify residents once the Bass Lake Ranger District office has been reopened.
For weather information please contact the National Weather Service Hanford, California at 559-5843752 or http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/hnx/