Some folks say forest managers need to focus on thinning in and around communities to protect homes from wildfire. This article reminds us that wildfire effects an be much more widespead than the burned area itself, and shows why active forest management aimed at reducing fire severity may be appropriate in the backcountry.
“Local emergency managers are particularly concerned about flood and flow risks from the Lake Christine Fire burn scar.”
“Wildfires result in a loss of vegetation and leave the ground charred and unable to absorb water,” said a statement from a consortium of emergency management agencies in the Roaring Fork Valley. “This creates conditions for flooding. Even areas that are not traditionally flood-prone are at risk of flooding for up to several years after a wildfire.”
“The soils that experienced the greatest burn severity are shedding the water rather than absorbing it, Thompson said. Water was flowing off hillsides in sheets and eroding the road between the main parking lot and the Mill Creek Trailhead, he said.”
Here’s a Debris Flow Probability Map of the 12,500-acre Lake Christine Fire area and surrounding communities in Colorado.