How to be prepared: effects of wildfire increase flood risks - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

How to be prepared: effects of wildfire increase flood risks

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KITTITAS COUNTY, WA - The Jolly Mountain Fire has burned more than 36,808 acres of land 6 miles northwest of Cle Elum since August 11, 2017. With rain in the forecast, it is important to remember that large scale wildfires dramatically change terrain and ground conditions, which increases the risk of flooding and mudflows.

Lands directly affected by fires and properties located below or downstream of burn areas are most at risk for more severe runoff and soil erosion.  Normally, vegetation absorbs rainfall and reduces the amount of rainfall entering the stream channel.  After a fire, the lack of vegetation causes rain to runoff along the soil surface, picking up debris and ash, increasing the risk for flooding, erosion, and mud and debris flows. 

Landowners are urged to be aware of the potential for flooding and soil erosion.  If you have culverts on your property, please monitor and maintain them.  Flood risk remains high for up to five years after a wildfire.
For more information on being prepared “after the fire”, please visit the following websites:

Kittitas County Conservation District:

Stay informed on evacuations and general fire information with the following resources:

Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center: (509) 933-8305


Jolly Mountain Fire Information: (509) 596-2423



WA Dept Fish & Wildlife:

WA Dept Fish & Wildlife Police: