USACE to remove driftwood at Isabella Dam by controlled burn

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District
Published March 13, 2024
Aerial Photo of Isabella Dam, September 2022

An aerial view of the Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project in Lake Isabella, California, Sept. 14, 2022. From top to bottom, this view shows the auxiliary dam, labyrinth weir and emergency spillway, service spillway, and main dam, looking southeast. Crews with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District are approaching completion of construction work on the project, which is designed to reduce flood risk for downstream communities including Bakersfield.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District plans to conduct a controlled burn of driftwood at Isabella Dam tomorrow, March 14, starting at 8 a.m. Crews will fully extinguish the fire and any remaining hot coals at 3:30 pm.

The action will remove driftwood that accumulated along the dam following high water inflows into Isabella Lake over the past year. The Eastern Kern Air Pollution Control District issued a permit for the burn, which will occur along the embankment at the southwest corner of the dam near the water line, just east of Highway 155. 

The burn is not expected to impact visitors to the lake’s recreation areas. All industry safety precautions to protect life and property will be taken.

This routine maintenance step will help prevent outflow interruptions due to debris blockages, prevent damage to the dam’s outlet works and mitigate downstream impacts.

Isabella Dam provides flood-risk reduction, irrigation, and recreational benefits for more than 300,000 people living and working below the dam, primarily in the town of Lake Isabella and the city of Bakersfield.

Ken Wright
916-502-2673 (cell)

Release no. 24-004