Wildfire Burn Scars are a Flood Risk Infographic

Wildfire Burn Scars are a Flood Risk

Heavy rain can produce flash floods, mudslides & debris flows over burned areas from wildfires.  Water repellent soils are formed when organic material such as trees, scrubs, plants and litter burn at high intensity (high temperatures), causing water repellent compounds to become vaporized which then condense on cooler soil layers below the surface, which prevents the soil from absorbing water after a fire. During heavy rains, water cannot penetrate water repellent soil layers, so it runs off like pavement which causes dangerous flash flooding, debris flows and mudslides.

August 2016 Climate Stats at Boise


August 2016 was dry and seasonably warm, with the average temperature within one degree of normal. There were no record high or lows set.  Only traces of rain fell at the airport. That’s not unusual, because August is generally the driest month at Boise.  Historically at Boise, 25% of Augusts had no measurable rainfall and 50% had no more than a 0.10″.

Weather patterns were typical of this time of year. Pacific systems were relatively weak, mainly moving inland north of our area with precipitation confined to northern and central Idaho and adjacent sections of eastern Washington, northern Oregon, and western Montana.  But even those areas were drier than normal, and little if any rain fell on southwest Idaho.

Incursions of monsoon moisture were usually deflected to the east ahead of trailing pacific cold fronts, so measurable rain from that source came no closer than the Nevada border and eastern Idaho.

At the Boise Airport, where records go back to 1940, June-August 2016 ranked among the driest 15% of summers.