1-mile barrier built to protect residents amid flooding in California during snowmelt

California flooding 2023: West coast has experienced turbulent weather the past few months

ByElisa Navarro KFSN logo
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Crews build muscle wall along Kings River to prevent flooding
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Crews have spent the past several days setting up a one-mile-long portable barrier wall along the Kings River.

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. -- Fire crews have spent several days preparing areas prone to flooding in the South Valley in California, as snow melts in the area.

Robert Arroyo has lived near the Kings River in Tulare County for over 20 years and vividly remembers when a levee breach in 2017 resulted in terrible flooding.

"This looked like a lake," Arroyo recalled of the area surrounding his home.

He said his home was OK, but some of his neighbors' houses were damaged by floodwaters.

"It's hard not to feel bad for them when their property is being damaged like it was, so I am sure they are glad that things are being done," said Arroyo.

This time around, the Tulare County Fire Department and Cal Fire took several days to set up a one-mile long portable barrier called a muscle wall along the river.

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"What they do is, the water goes inside of them. They are approximately 6 feet long, and they interlock with each other. So, they connect almost like Legos. Once the guys get them in place, they run them along and use the (tarp) to reinforce the muscle wall. They are designed, once they are interlocked and filled water, to keep the water on the water side," said Tulare County Fire Battalion Chief Bryan Duffy.

Arroyo said knowing the muscle wall is there is a relief.

Rick Carhart with Cal Fire said the hard work to protect communities is happening all over the county and will continue in the weeks to come.

"This is a situation that is going to be affecting Tulare County for months. So, how long we will be here? I cannot say, but I can tell you that resources will be working to keep residents safe for months and months from now," said Carhart.

The muscle wall is staying until summer since the snow melt could last until then.