Wildfires and Flashfloods

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Release date: 
July 20, 2000
Release Number: 
R10-00-62

SEATTLE, Wash. -- Blue sky and summer heat warn of increased wildfire risk here in the Pacific Northwest, particularly in Idaho, eastern Oregon and eastern Washington. But according to FEMA Deputy Regional Director Tammy Doherty, where wildfire rages, denuding slopes and alluvial plains of groundcover, flash flood risks increase.

"Floods aren't always preceded by weeks of rain, and all floods aren't limited to mapped flood risk zones," said Doherty. "Summer thunderstorms can strike with little warning, sending torrents of water downrange."

Much of the damage to homes and other structures comes from flooded basements. Elevating or relocating vulnerable appliances, water heaters and furnaces can reduce damage. Installing backflow valves on sewer lines, and anchoring in-yard fuel tanks can also reduce losses.

According to Doherty most floods are too small to qualify for federal assistance, but collectively still cause millions of dollars in damage. "Standard homeowner insurance rarely covers flood damages. National Flood Insurance pays off regardless of whether there is a disaster declaration or not. It's affordable, and offers a comprehensive safety net against future flood losses."

New policies do have a 30-day waiting period before they take effect, and Doherty recommends that at-risk properties be protected now.

Attention Radio Stations:
Today's FEMA Radio Network feed features Region 10 mitigation division director Carl Cook, on:

  • Wildfire hazards and increased flash flood risk in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Wildfire and Flash flood mitigation.
  • Who should buy flood insurance, and when.
  • Mitigation efforts across the Pacific Northwest.

To access/record quotes, dial 1-800-323-5248. Canadian stations call 1-202-646-4365.

Last Updated: 
July 19, 2012 - 23:02
State/Tribal Government or Region: 
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