Lake Elsinore Mudslide Cleanups Underway After Mud Flows From Holy Fire Burn Area, No Major Damage Reported

Mud and debris flowed through streets and neighborhoods in Lake Elsinore in Riverside County from areas charred by the Holy Fire, prompting multiple evacuations, road closures, rescue operations and big cleanup jobs after Thursday’s rain storm.

Without vegetation in burn areas to soak up the rain, mud raced down Trabuco and Rice Canyon roads and into some neighborhoods.

Though up to 4 inches of rain poured down in the area, National Weather Service officials say the damage could have been worse.

Video showed sandbags stacked outside some homes, protecting them as a thick layer of mud sat in front of their driveways Friday morning.

Some homeowners were not as lucky. Officials removed around 2 feet of mud from one family's garage Friday, according to a tweet by Cal Fire Riverside.

One Lake Elsinore resident was watching television in his garage Thursday, when the floods reached his house.

“A log went through my back door and a rush of water came in,” Lake Elsinore resident, Chris Smith said as city officials worked around him. He added that when he went outside, he saw water rushing through his neighborhood.

During the storm, an elderly man in Rice Canyon had to be rescued by a National Guard vehicle, according to another tweet by Cal Fire Riverside.

Mandatory and Voluntary evacuations had been ordered for several neighborhoods near Holy Fire burn areas in Lake Elsinore on Wednesday but lifted in some areas early Friday morning, including Trabuco Canyon Road.

Four schools in Lake Elsinore closed Friday, including Luiseno Elementary, Rice Canyon Elementary, Withrow Elementary and Terra Cotta Middle School.

The flash flood warning for the Holy fire area was lifted on Thursday, but a flash flood watch remained for Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, with a chance of rain forecast for Elsinore Lake Friday morning.

The Holy Fire burned around 23 acres in August and destroyed 18 buildings.

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