Rains Prompt Flooding Concerns In Areas Burned By Wildfires

Oct 16, 2012

Heavy rain prompted flash flood warnings Tuesday for areas affected by this summer’s wildfires in parts of Boise and Elmore counties.  The National Weather Service was concerned that barren terrain left after the Springs Creek and Trinity Ridge fires could produce debris and rock slides.

National Weather Service Hydrologist Troy Lindquist says the first substantial rain in months was expected to total about an inch and a half.  That’s not a lot, but he says it is enough to make things dangerous near the so-called “burn scars”.

“These areas that were burned by wildfire over this summer are more susceptible to flash flooding and rapid runoff and mud slides and debris flow as the fires burn the vegetation,” he says.

Lindquist adds that rain can move quickly without trees and vegetation to stop it.  He says all this debris can carry momentum that picks up rocks and boulders as it flows downhill.  If this happens near a highway or county road, travel can become dangerous.

One area of particular concern is Highway 55.  The Springs fire forced the road to close several times in August after rocks rolled onto the road.

The Boise County Sheriff’s office says it monitored roads throughout the day for signs of debris and mud slides. None have been reported so far.