Nearly 200 People Evacuated from South Bay Campsite as Uvas Creek Continues to Rise

A frightening situation in the South Bay area resulted in the mandatory evacuation of almost 200 people as a creek’s flooding threatened to trap families who were staying at a popular campground.

According to NBC Bay Area, the Uvas Creek in Morgan Hill, CA, experienced a dramatic rise in water level on Sunday. Due to rapidly increasing threat of flooding, local officials issued a mandatory evacuation of the nearby Thousand Trails campground.

Camp managers began to take notice of the rising creek when a bridge connecting the campground to Watsonville Rd. was nearly submerged in water. Had the bridge been submerged before action was taken, campers would have been essentially trapped on Thousand Trails.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, along with local fire crews, decided to evacuate approximately 175 campers from the campground just moments before the Uvas Creek rose to the level of the bridge.

About 70% of camping is done on public campgrounds like Thousands Trails, and many of these campers are families with small children. Therefore, some camp regulars were quite distraught with the perceived lack of urgency from camp managers to evacuate the premises.

“I really had to yell and shout to have them help me, and they just kept smiling,” said Nala Jadallah, who was on the campground when the water began to rise. “But I don’t feel safe.”

As Patch.com reported, all evacuated campers were offered assistance by the American Red Cross if they needed a temporary place to stay. As of 1 p.m. Sunday, campers had not yet been told when they could return to gather their belongings.

Unfortunately, this was not the only campground evacuation that was issued on Sunday throughout California. According to local news affiliate KSBW, the California State Parks Department (CSPD) was forced to shut down several popular campgrounds due to flooding from the Big Sur storm system, including the Pfeiffer State Campground.

In addition to closing down and evacuating the campgrounds, officials also warned drivers to exercise caution on the roads. Trees, power lines, and assorted debris lined many streets throughout the weekend as Big Sur began to reach full force.

“They need to drive with caution. You never know what is around the next corner. It could be a tree, a landslide or a PGandE pole,” said Chris Fridrich of the CSPD.

Big Sur seems to have passed, but it would not be surprising to see campgrounds make changes to their emergency evacuation policies after the Thousands Trails debacle.