Wildfires Could Dramatically Increase Your Risk of Flooding

Wildfires are dangerous and destructive events, but they might be even more dangerous than you thought. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program, or FEMA NFIP, is urging homeowners who live near wildfires to prepare for potentially disastrous flooding.

How Wildfires Lead to Flooding

To understand the risk, it helps to know how the damage caused by wildfires increases your risk of flooding damage. Here’s how it works:

Waterproof Layer: Normally, when it rains, some of the rainwater is absorbed by trees and plants, and the rest is absorbed by the soil. When wildfires sweep through an area, they burn the soil itself, and leave behind burned remnants of trees and other plants. Burned plants and soil do not absorb water; instead, they effectively form a water-repellent crust over the ground.

Flash Floods: When it rains, the rainwater runs along the top of this waterproof crust, picking up speed and force as it moves toward lower elevations. In a matter of hours, a heavy rainfall can create life-threatening flash floods for communities that are situated downstream, or at lower elevation, than the burn zones.

How You Can Prepare

FEMA NFIP flood insurance policies have a mandatory 30-day waiting period; in other words, to file a claim, you must have purchased the policy at least 30 days before the damage occurred. Wildfire-related flash floods are especially dangerous: The fast-moving water can knock out bridges, dislodge boulders and topple trees—especially those that were already weakened by wildfire damage. Fast-flowing, debris-filled water can cause extensive damage to a home in minutes, and most homeowners insurance policies won’t cover this damage.

If wildfires strike any regions near, or above Hopkins, MN 55305 don’t ignore the FEMA NFIP warnings. It’s important to understand your increased risk of flooding. Educate yourself about flood preparation and consider purchasing flood insurance policy before a flash flood forms.


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