Smoke from the Valley Fire on Sunday obscured view of downtown San Diego from Mount Helix near La Mesa. Photo by Chris Stone

San Diego County will open an erosion control center in Alpine Thursday to help businesses and homeowners prevent debris flows in the areas burned by the Valley Fire.

The center at 2914 Tavern Road will offer free sandbags, fiber rolls and other items to help residents stabilize properties before rains arrive and potentially trigger mudslides and debris flows, county officials said.

Starting Thursday, the center will be open to business and property owners from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily Monday through Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays. Appointments are not required this weekend, but will be required starting on Monday.

Residents and business owners can schedule an appointment to pick up erosion control materials by calling the county’s stormwater hotline at 888-846- 0800.

Staff will be available to advise on how to protect properties, homes, garages, sheds and other structures. Staff can also visually inspect properties and offer information on best practices to protect structures.

As of Wednesday morning, the Valley Fire remained at 17,665 acres and was 90% contained, according to a Cleveland National Forest incident page.

The conflagration, which broke out early on the afternoon of Sept. 5 off Spirit Trail and Carveacre Road in Japatul Valley, ultimately destroyed 30 residences and 31 outbuildings, damaged 11 other structures and left three firefighters injured, according to Cal Fire.

–City News Service