Rich Wood came from the San Francisco area to visit his mom Friday Aug. 30 at her place next to Poppet Creek, below the Silver Fire burn area in the San Jacinto Mountains.
He witnessed the dry drainage fill with the slow-moving front end of a debris flow mixed with ash, leave and mud before it turned to a fast-moving channel of black water.
Wood said the road outside his mom's place, Cryer Drive, was four to five feet under water at its lowest spot, making it completely impassable for a time.
An estimated 1 inch to 1.5 inches of rain soaked the Silver Fire burn area in Poppet Flats on Friday afternoon, unleashing flows of black mud and debris as well as rocks in places on Highway 243.
The forecast for Saturday in the mountains on both sides of the San Gorgonio Pass, including the Silver Fire and Mountain Fire burns, calls for scattered showers and possible thunderstorms with locally heavy rain, National Weather Service meteorologist Jimmy Taeger said in a phone interview Friday night.
The Silver Fire in August and the Mountain Fire in July combined to destroy 71 structures including 33 homes, scorched more than 70 square miles of mountain watersheds, and cost firefighting and other agencies more than $35 million, according to Cal Fire and the Forest Service.