Napa County prepares for first heavy rains after North Bay fires

NAPA, Calif. (KGO) -- David McNair counts himself among the lucky ones, one of the few in his fire-ravaged Napa neighborhood who had a home to return to after the Atlas Fire.

RELATED: Flood warning issued after North Bay fires melted storm drain pipes

"It came to within 23 inches of my house," explained McNair, who lives on a remote 16 acres off of Monticello Road. Most of his property and his neighbor's homes were burned in the fire.

Now, McNair and his wife have a new worry: The extremely steep, charred hillside behind his home and what might happen to it with the first significant rains of the season.

"We're left with a big concern here that when it rains this hillside's going to come down here...all over our parking area and up behind the house there," McNair told ABC7 News.

Throughout the fire area in Napa County, preparations are underway for the disaster that could follow the fires that have already devastated much of the area.

"What we started doing has actually been happening for a couple of weeks now," explained Belia Ramos, the chair of the Napa County Board of Supervisors, which has been dealing with one disaster after another for the past several years.

RELATED: North Bay residents warned of possible flooding during storm

This time, Caltrans has brought in crews to remove debris, mostly burned trees and brush from the sides of highways 121 and 128.

And there's work being done in places like Silverado to protect storms drains, now covered with fabric and surrounded by gravel bags, to keep the ash and debris flowing from gutted homes out of local waterways.

"One of the things that has already happened is the EPA came through and did the household hazardous waste sweep, so removed those items of toxic level and great concern, those have already been removed from the parcels, so that's actually very good news," said Ramos.

Nonetheless, the county will partically activate its Emergency Operations Center this afternoon and keep it open throughout the evening for any problems that could arise with the first heavy rains of the season.

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