Utah wildfire officials prepare for post-fire erosion
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A northern Utah wildfire response team has begun preparing for potential post-fire erosion and flooding in the region, officials said.
The Davis County fire was 68% contained after a day of rain Tuesday, the U.S. Forest Service said.
The response team visited the region Wednesday to evaluate and work to prevent further damage that could result from incoming thunderstorms.
“When fire burns really hot, it can change the chemical and physical properties of the soil and make it water repellent,” response team member Brenden Waterman told KUTV-TV. “If it rains really hard, really fast and it all comes down at once, that can initiate debris flow and flash flooding coming off the burn scar.”
The fire has burned more than half of a square mile (1 square kilometer) in a steep area where runoff could threaten residents living in Fruit Heights, wildfire officials said. Residents should watch for any warnings and stay alert and vigilant.
“If the water does come off the hill at an accelerated rate, and we do get a muddy flow coming off of that, the first place it’s going to go is in your basement windows and your basement doors. The last thing we want is somebody trapped in a basement,” Waterman said.
Officials plan to conduct more in-depth reviews narrowing in on some areas and looking at short and long-term assessments, he said.
Four areas remain closed to the public including Bair Canyon Trail, Adams Canyon Trail, Wahsatch Shooters Gun Range and portions of Bonneville Shoreline Trail.