September 16, 2017

Wildfire Burn Scars are a Flood Risk

A good rule of thumb is: "If you can look uphill from where you are and see a burnt-out area, you are at risk." Wildfires can leave the ground charred, barren, and unable to absorb water, creating conditions ripe for flash flooding and mudflow.  The time to prepare is now:

  • Plan evacuation routes
  • Gather supplies in case of a storm
  • Strengthen your home against damage, and
  • Review your insurance coverage.

To learn more about how to protect your home visit:
After the Fire: Resources for Recovery  Developed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service; Washington, United States Department of Agriculture.  This website contains downloadable PDFs including: A Wildfire Factsheet, and several After the Fire documents (Hillside Home Drainage, Hydromulching, Log Erosion Barrier, Sandbag Barrier, Contour Sandbags, Seeding, Handraking, Hazard Tree, Dike, Diversion).  Although this website was built for Washington during a particularly significant wildfire season, the handouts help provide direction.  Read the fine print as some handouts are area specific. This website also has downloadable information regarding Assistance Resources: Fire Recovery Assistance from the USDA, Fire Recovery Assistance from the USDA (Spanish), FSA Fire Recovery Documentation Checklist.  
National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: Flash Flood Threat Within the Burn Scar Developed by the Western and Central Wyoming Weather Forecast Office, this website has helpful tips and graphics to help understand the risk.

To learn more about flood insurance, check out the Flood After Fire Fact Sheet: Risks and Protection, from the National Flood Insurance Program.

For more information in English and Spanish visit the Center for Disease Control's website on landslides.