Flood Information

Wildfire Burn Scar are a Flood Risk

FEMA Debris Flow

Post-wildfire flooding hazards: The flood that isn't just water

When you think of a flood, what comes to your mind first? Maybe it's exactly what we described above: overbank flow from spring runoff or extreme rain events that overwhelm the system. One flood risk that's on the rise in Washington isn't always recognized: post-wildfire flooding, which is a growing concern as wildfires become larger and occur more frequently. After a fire, the risk of severe flooding and debris flows increases significantly. For example, if the soil and duff layer is severely burned, rainfall amounts with a two-year recurrence interval can produce a 100-year flood loaded with mud, ash, and debris.

Since mudflows are technically considered floods, traditional homeowner's insurance doesn't cover damage caused by many of these events; however, flood insurance may cover these damages. See FEMA’s  FloodSmart | Flood After Fire: The Increased Risk for flood insurance resources.

Has your community experienced a wildfire? Recovery resources for Washington communities can be found at afterthefirewa.org. Looking forward, stay informed about flood and debris flow risks from the National Weather Service. Pay attention to the weather forecasts, watches, and warnings, and know when heavy rain or thunderstorms are coming. 

Sultan and the CRS Program

FEMA Flood Picture