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Image of the Week: Mudslide Cuts Through Big Sur Burn Scar

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A mudslide near the 2020 Dolan Fire's ignition point chopped through a chunk of California's scenic State Highway 1 in late January. 

The Dolan Fire began near Big Sur on August 18th, 2020. It scarred nearly 125,000 acres before being fully contained in December. 

The damage is clear in false color Landsat 8 imagery from August and October. The scar is still visible in a Sentinel-2 image from January. 

Sixteen inches of rain soaked the northern edge of the fire scar late that month, sending a rush of debris from Rat Creek across the Pacific Coast Highway, and carrying more than 100 feet of roadway into the sea. Switching to natural color puts the damage into clearer focus. 

An even more significant event took place four years earlier just 24 miles to the south. The Mud Creek landslide dumped 6 million cubic yards of debris, burying a quarter mile of State Highway 1.




Public Domain.