Preparing Property for Rain After Wildfire
Increased Risk of Flooding After Fires
Properties located within and downstream of fire burn scar areas may be at a higher risk for flash floods, mudflows, and debris flows.
The National Weather Service expects debris flows to become more likely during periods of intense rainfall. Be prepared by:
- Identifying vulnerable areas on your property.
- Using erosion control techniques, such as installing wattles and rock bags, and clearing fire-related debris from creeks and drainages to reduce flooding.
- Have an evacuation and emergency plan ready.
- Keep your cell phone turned on at all times to receive emergency alerts.
To familiarize yourself with the potential hazards associated with the burned areas please view the Post-Fire Hazard Assessment Map. It will show which areas located within fire burn areas that may still be at risk for flash floods, mudflows and debris flows, and their level of risk for these potential hazards. Post-Fire Hazard Assessment Map (viewable below)
National Weather Service Warning System
The National Weather Service issues weather advisories and watches when the weather forecast indicates there is a potential for hazardous conditions. Watches and advisories are shared online at https://www.weather.gov/alerts, and on the National Weather Service social media Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Warning: The National Weather Service will issue a Warning if hazardous conditions are imminent or occurring within the burn areas.
The National Weather Service sends Warnings over the Wireless Emergency Alerts system that will send a message to all cell phones in the burn areas and will also send out alerts through the Emergency Alert System that broadcasts on radios and televisions.
Sign up for Sonoma County Emergency Alerts:
Sign up to receive emergency notifications at SoCoAlert.com. SoCoAlert will be used to send an emergency notification if there is an imminent threat to life or property.
Weather Emergency Radios
In areas where there is limited cell service, or if a power outage occurs, Emergency Warnings from the National Weather Service will be announced on the Weather Emergency Radios, which rely on batteries.
Emergency public hotlines - Flood, sanitation, streams maintenance
Flood Forecast Hotline: (707) 526-4768
The Flood Forecast is a recording that provides updates on local river conditions. The recordings are updated by the Sonoma County Water Agency as conditions change.
Stream Maintenance: (707) 521-1845
Report any stream related issues, such as debris or stream channel changes, to prevent localized flooding.
Sewage Emergency Hotline: (707) 523-1070
The Sewage Emergency Hotline is operated on a 24-hour basis at Sonoma Water's Operations Center. Call this hotline to report any sewage spills, overflows or backed-up sewer lines.
Property Owner Responsibilities
It is the responsibility of every property owner and/or their contractor to prevent ash, debris, and sediment from entering our creeks and waterways. Wattles and other materials, such as straw, are available for purchase at various agriculture, garden supply and hardware stores. Protect our watershed by placing straw wattles, hay bales, and mulch around burned areas and cleared areas with exposed soil to reduce the chances of any material from washing into the nearest waterway.
Inspections and Enforcement
Inspections of fire-affected properties are underway to assess whether they are ready for the rainy season, with an emphasis on protecting the environment. Inspections will occur throughout the rainy season to ensure adequate wet weather protections are in place and functioning well. The City of Santa Rosa and the County of Sonoma’s goal is to work with property owners and contractors to come into compliance through progressive verbal communication and written noticing, prior to potential formal enforcement.
Information and Resources
Since the risks of erosion, sedimentation, flooding, or similar secondary post-fire hazards are higher than they were before the fires, the County of Sonoma and City of Santa Rosa prepared summary brochures regarding responsibilities and resources for property owners and contractors, with customized information for parcels that are vacant versus under construction. Review those resources below.
Erosion Control for Vacant Parcels
- Temporary Erosion Control – A Homeowner’s Guide
- Temporary Erosion Control – A Homeowner’s Guide (Spanish)
If your property is in the City of Santa Rosa, call the Resilient City Permit Center at (707) 543-4649 or email [email protected].