SHASTA COUNTY – With rain forecasted to begin falling this week, local officials urge residents in the wild fire burn areas to be prepared for post-fire floodwaters and debris. The next few storm seasons may bring elevated risks of flooding and debris flows and this first season after recent wildfires can be even more dangerous.
Denuded hillsides, altered soil conditions and remaining debris from the wildfires may produce fast-moving runoff and sediments. These risks are generally higher on the western area of the Carr Fire where the watersheds are larger, slopes are more severe, and rainfall intensity is typically higher. Flood risk begins when rainfall reaches half an inch per hour.
Flood and debris flows may reach several miles downslope from the burn area. A debris flow is a moving mass of loose mud, water, rock and sand that travels downhill and can reach high speeds.
To help the public be ready for the possibility of flooding or debris flows, officials have prepared a “Storm Readiness” sheet that details how best to get Ready for an emergency, Set and prepared to leave if necessary and about to Go quickly if ordered. A copy of this informational sheet is attached.
Please monitor conditions and updates from local news outlets and the local National Weather Service (NWS) office. Advisories and warnings may be issued as follows:
Flood Advisory: This is issued when the forecasted rainfall may cause hazards that are nuisances but avoidable. It may, for example, cause road closures or small rock slides but won’t flood actual structures. However, if precautions are not taken, the hazards could become serious. Don’t drive into flooded areas!
Flood Warning: In areas where wildfires have happened, a watch is issued within several hours to days ahead of rains that could potentially generate flash flooding. A warning means it’s a good time to start ensuring you’re totally prepared.
Flash Flood Warning: This means take action, and a flash flood is about to happen or is occurring. If you are in the warning area, take immediate action, which may mean evacuating. Remember: Flash floods can also affect areas outside the wildfire burn zones.
Watches and advisories are shared online at https://www.weather.gov/alerts, and on the National Weather Service social media Facebook and Twitter feeds. Residents and businesses are encouraged to prepare in advance for flood conditions. Other ways to prepare include:
- Review your current insurance policy and become familiar with what is covered. Ensure the limits adequately protect buildings and personal belongings
- Make an emergency kit, lan evacuation routes, and keep important papers in a safe, waterproof place. Visit the Ready Shasta page to learn more about making a kit and other emergency preparedness tips.
- Itemize and take pictures of possessions.
- Purchase sandbags from a local hardware store.
- To find an insurance agent, visit FloodSmart.gov or call 1-800-427-2419.
For more information, visit www.shastareddingrecovers.org and click the “Get Rain Ready” icon or call 2-1-1 Shasta. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter: Shasta County Sheriff’s Office.