[10/19/16] Mudslide Causes Damage- Officials Ask Landowners To Take Precautionary Steps

Posted in Feature, Local Government & Meetings

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CHELAN — At about 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 15, Chelan County Public Works crews were notified by emergency services that mud was covering South Lakeshore Road, at about mile marker 6, in Chelan.

 

When crews arrived, they found two areas within a quarter mile of one another where mud, rocks, branches and other debris had covered the road and, in one case, crossed it. The mudflow was caused by recent rains in the area. At least two homes appear to have suffered some damage.

 

Public works crews were able to clear much of the mudflow over the weekend but were expected to work until Tuesday hauling debris from the incident.

 

This is one of the first mudflow reports of the year in a post-wildfire burn area in Chelan County. The area of the mudflow was in a burn area created from 2015 wildfires.

 

While vegetation normally absorbs rainfall, reducing runoff, wildfires leave the ground charred and barren, creating conditions ripe for mudflow or even flash flooding. Post-wildfire burn areas may be prone to mudflows or flooding for up to five years depending on fire severity, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

 

The impact of rainfall over a burned area can be quick and severe. The burned surface may not be able to absorb even light to normal rainfall, causing precipitation to travel quickly, taking rocks, dirt and other debris with it. The debris then overwhelms drainage systems, which may lead to mudflows or flooding.

 

Chelan County Public Works reminds property owners living in our post-wildfire burn areas to take precautionary steps to protect drainways in the case of future rain, snow melt or other high precipitation events.

 

That includes:

  • Cutting back brush
  • Removing rock and yard waste
  • Inspecting your culverts for debris
  • Calling public works (667-6415) if you see a clogged culvert on county right-of-way

For more information, visit the Cascadia Conservation District website or the Chelan County Public Works website.