Residents living in and around areas impacted by wildfires, such as the Western U.S., face an increased risk of flooding – for up to several years after a wildfire.
Large-scale wildfires dramatically alter the terrain and ground conditions. Normally, vegetation absorbs rainfall, reducing runoff. However, wildfires leave the ground charred, barren, and unable to absorb water, creating conditions ripe for flash flooding and mudflow. Flood risk remains significantly higher until vegetation is restored, usually up to 5 years after a wildfire.
Flooding after a fire is often more severe, as it takes very little rain to cause a flood or mudflows. As rainwater moves across charred and denuded ground, it can also pick up soil and sediment and carry it in a stream of floodwaters. This can cause more significant damage.
Are you prepared? The links below provide some valuable information to help you prepare for the potential of flooding after the Almeda Fire.
Understanding Mudflows (ENG/ESP)
Flood After Fire Infographic (ENG/ESP) Wildfires Raise Your Flood Risk (ENG/ESP)