The goal this winter is to prevent ash and debris from entering the waterways. In preparation for anticipated rain this winter, people who live in burned areas, or downhill of burned areas, should be aware of increased risks for:
- Flash Flooding: Normally, rainfall is absorbed by vegetation and soils, reducing runoff. However, wildfires remove vegetation and may leave soil unable to absorb water, creating flash flood conditions. Flood risk remains significantly higher until vegetation is restored—up to 5 years after a wildfire.
- Mud and Debris Flows: Debris and ash, along with other sediments, can be picked up in flood waters and form mud and debris flows.
Here are some things property owners in burned areas, or downstream of burned areas, can do to prevent or report flooding or debris issues:
- Install straw wattles to prevent debris, ash and erosion from flowing into waterways. Straw wattles can be picked-up from local hardware stores.
- If you see something (flooding, mud and debris flows), say something – call 911
- Monitor your surroundings, and have an emergency plan in place.
- Stay informed: Listen to local radio stations, visit National Weather Service, and sign up for the Mendocino County Emergency Notification System. Make sure that the emergency alerts on your cell phone are activated (on smart phones, go to “Notifications” and make sure the Emergency Alerts notification is turned on).
Multiple, federal, state, regional and local agencies are preparing for the potential impacts of the recent wildfires. These agencies are taking action to protect private property and critical infrastructure.
Analysis is currently underway to identify areas that are at risk during rain events, as a result of the wildfires. That information, along with recommendations and tools for property owners, will be shared as soon as it is available.