The strongest storm to hit Southern California in several years has brought torrential rain, flash flooding and powerful winds to the area.
A landslide the size of three football fields in the San Bernardino County mountains is threatening several homes, a fire station and a major road used by hundreds of residents, fire officials said.
Four homes and a San Bernardino County fire station in the unincorporated community of Forest Falls are directly in the path of the hillside, which started moving about 10 a.m. Thursday, fire department spokesman Eric Sherwin said.
Two homes were vacant, and residents in the other two homes have voluntarily evacuated. Fire officials have removed equipment from the station to protect it from damage, he said.
The landslide is 300 yards wide and extends 1,000 feet from top to bottom in the Slide Canyon area, according to Sherwin.
Like a glacier, pieces of the hillside have been slowly breaking off and dropping into a drainage below.
“It’s a lot of material,” he said, “but it has a long time to come down.”
But firefighters worry that Friday’s powerful storm could hasten the process.
If the hillside — a mixture of snow, rock, soil and timber — travels down, it will spill onto Valley Of The Falls Drive — a major road for residents living in the area. The blockage could trap a couple of hundreds of residents for several days, Sherwin said.
The San Bernardino County road crews were placing concrete barriers along the drive to help divert mud and debris, he said.
Meanwhile, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department issued a reverse 911 call Thursday evening to residents in the area, warning them of the landslide, Sherwin said.