Highway 70 Blocked By Rockslides

By Duncan A. Kennedy

BELDEN – The storm system that passed over Northern California and Southern Oregon this past weekend had many benefits – providing a late-season moisture boost for crops, temporarily mitigating fire danger, and cooling off what has otherwise been a very hot late spring – but it hasn’t been without its drawbacks. Heavy rains over bare ground exposed by the Dixie Fire in the North Fork of the Feather River Canyon caused several large debris flows between Caribou and Belden on Sunday, June 12, near Rock Creek Powerhouse.

State Route 70 was a direct casualty of the debris flows which crossed the road in three places and stranded a couple of motorists within knee-deep flows of ash, rock, mud and burnt tree debris.

According to Plumas News’s interview of Plumas County Search & Rescue (PCSAR) coordinator Mike Grant, both vehicles were headed westbound – a lone woman was going to Oroville, while a couple were returning from a weekend stay with friends near Chester. The California Highway Patrol transported the former to Oroville, while PCSAR took the latter to meet their friends back at the Greenville Wye.

According to Grant’s interview, the conditions were incredibly hazardous during the rescue, with driving rain and 60-70 MPH winds preventing a helicopter rescue and would have made any injury complications very difficult to evacuate. Currently, SR-70 is closed at the Greenville Wye and Jarbo Gap with no estimated time of reopening. Motorists traveling from Plumas County to the Chico-Oroville area are advised to use alternate routes such as the Oroville-Quincy Highway instead.

Leave a Reply