Flooding Concerns Plague Areas Burned By Wildfires

Burn Areas No Longer Have Ground Cover, Soil Is Hard Like Clay

Heavy rainfall prompted flooding concerns in areas recently burned by wildfires.

Boulder County Emergency Management officials kept a close eye on the Fourmile Burn Area where the National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch. The area has seen flooding and mudslides in the past and officials were concerned they could see a repeat of those problems.

"This is the sort of fire and flood cycle that happens in Colorado especially on the Front Range. In steep mountain canyons you lose the trees, all the ground cover gets burned off, the soil gets kind of baked hard like clay from the high heat and then that adds to the runoff potential," said Boulder County Emergency Management Director, Mike Chard.

An inch of rain fell in the city of Boulder but more fell in other areas. In Lefthand Canyon, the area once burned by the Maxwell Fire saw a series of mud and rockslides. Crews were forced to close down part of the road to clean up debris.

"There's nothing on the hillside to hold the water back so it washed out the road in four spots and county crews are just finishing cleaning it up right now," said Lefthand Fire District Deputy Chief, Chris O'Brien.

The rainfall also caused an increase in Boulder Creek water levels.

"At this time we're not seeing anything that is indicating that there is a risk to downstream or to the city of Boulder," said Boulder County Emergency Management Director Mike Chard.

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