Emergency crews have begun work to reduce the danger of mudslides and floods in case heavy rains fall on the more than 8,700 acres charred by the Waterfall fire.
City workers used bulldozers Friday to make 8-foot tall ridges of soil above the Quill Water Treatment Plant in Kings Canyon. Additional berms were being planned for Ash Canyon and a park west of Carson-Tahoe Hospital. Hundreds of sand bags were also being stored at several locations.
"We're worried that mud could overtake our system and threaten homes," said City Engineer Larry Werner. "There is a lot of debris and downed timber and ash."
Werner said the berms atop the water treatment plant were a high priority because the plant treats about 30 percent of the city's drinking water.
"This is all about human safety," said Jason Kirchner, spokesman for the Burned Area Emergency Response team. "If we get an overwhelming deluge up in these mountains it could end up being quite a problem."
City Manager Linda Ritter said funding for the work has not been established.
"We hope to sort all that out later, but we can't wait for thunderstorms before putting procedures in place," Ritter said.
Although rain is not in the forecast, officials said they couldn't afford to take risks.
"Right now, we've got to move forward because the threat is too great," Ritter said.
The Waterfall fire, which destroyed 17 homes, was fully contained Tuesday.
Fire officials on Friday also warned residents to stay out of the burned areas.
"Many trees have been weakened by fire and could come crashing down," said Greg Marfli with a fire incident management team. "Rocks and logs have been loosened by the fire and could roll down."