Jul 4, 2012 6:49 PM by Andy Koen

Why a fire increases flood risk

The gentle rain showers that washed over Colorado Springs Wednesday also helped to cool the northern edge of the Waldo Canyon Fire. However, too much rain can quickly create another natural disaster: flooding.

As part of a daily media update Wednesday, Incident Management Team public information officer Richard Hadley explained the burning of vegetation can create lead to increased soil erosion. On top of that, the intense heat of a wildfire can alter the soil itself.

"If it burns through an area and is fairly hot, like portions of this fire, it can change the soil chemistry which actually makes it water repellant," Hadley explained. "A watershed can end up actually producing a lot more water after a fire than it did prior to the fire."

Homeowners evacuated by the Waldo Canyon Fire are encouraged to paunches flood insurance, especially those with property in low lying areas.

"We suggest that people go to the disaster recovery center that's been set up by El Paso County," Hadley said. "They can talk to FEMA and insurance representatives there."

The Disaster Recovery Center is located at the former El Paso County Department of Human Services building at 105 North Spruce Street. It's open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily except for July 4, 2010.

The Waldo Canyon Fire remains at 80 percent containment and is expected to be fully contain in the coming days.



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