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Flood Risk Increases After Fires Are Out - Buy Flood Insurance Now

Release Date:
October 20, 2020

Oregon wildfires that are leaving millions of square miles covered in ash are nearing their end, but they’re leaving another threat behind them – floods.

Oregonians who live in and around areas impacted by wildfires face an increased risk of flooding for up to several years after a wildfire. So it’s important to consider purchasing flood insurance now. It takes 30 days after applying for a new National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) insurance policy to go into effect.

Flooding, Mudflows and Erosion Risk Following Wildfires

  • Intense wildfires dramatically alter the terrain when they burn away vegetation and scorch the earth
  • Charred land and burned vegetation forms a water-repellant layer that cannot absorb rain, so rainwater bounces off
  • Areas that lie below or downstream of the burn scars face an increased threat of flooding
  • Intense rainfall can flood a low-lying area in less than six hours.
  • Flash floods can dislodge boulders, uproot trees and destroy buildings and bridges.
  • Rivers of flowing mud are caused by brush loss plus heavy rains. Rapid snowmelt can also trigger mudflows
  • Burned land poses a threat of flooding until vegetation grows back, a process that can take five years

Knowing You Can Recover Brings Peace of Mind

No home is completely safe from potential flooding. When just one inch of water in a home can cost more than $25,000 in damage, flood insurance can be the difference between recovery and financial devastation.

To be eligible to purchase a flood insurance policy, a property owner’s town or county must participate in the NFIP and adopt certain ordinances. Consult your local official to see if your jurisdiction participates.                                                                                      

Why Should I Buy NFIP Flood Insurance?

  • The NFIP is an affordable, federally-backed program that provides most of the nation’s flood insurance
  • NFIP insurance claims are paid promptly whether or not there is a federal disaster declaration
  • NFIP insurance must be in effect 30 days before you make a claim
  • NFIP insurance reimburses policyholders for covered losses. Homeowners can buy up to $250,000 in coverage; business owners, $500,000; and renters $100,000 for their personal property

For more about information on NFIP Flood Insurance, visit www.floodsmart.gov. If you are ready to buy flood insurance, visit www.floodsmart.gov/flood-insurance/buy. To find a flood insurance provider near you, visit www.floodsmart.gov/flood-insurance/providers.

All Oregonians – including those affected by the recent wildfires and straight-line winds – who want to learn more about flood risks, how to build safer and stronger, or to inquire as to your flood risk following a fire near you, can contact FEMA Mitigation Specialists via email at FEMA-R10-MIT@FEMA.DHS.GOV.

This is a free service and a FEMA Hazard Mitigation specialist will respond to your inquiries.

Last updated October 20, 2020