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Is Your Home In Danger of Floods and Mudslides?

Residents of Colorado and the western United States are far too familiar with the threat of wildfires. Every year, families and communities are evacuated, homes and buildings are destroyed, and the landscape is decimated. Even for those not directly affected, a wildfire can have deep, lasting effects on a community.

Recently we discussed the importance of defensible space: steps that can be taken beforehand to minimize the risk of damage to your home from a wildfire. Unfortunately, even if a structure survives a wildfire, there are still serious risks to its safety and the safety of those who inhabit it; flooding is just one of those.


After a wildfire burns its way through an area, oftentimes the soil cannot absorb water as easily. This can be due to the absence of water-absorbing vegetation which served to fuel the flames, but a wildfire that's hot enough can actually cause some soil to form a waxy, water-repellant layer that essentially makes it hydrophobic. The inability (or inefficiency) of soil to absorb water means that the rate and amount of runoff are greatly increased, even with relatively low levels of precipitation.

While the burn areas themselves are at an increased risk of flooding and mudflows due to this change in landscape, the areas below or downstream are also in danger. In communities that are at risk for wildfires but have not experienced one in many years, this is a fact that can be easily overlooked by homeowners. 

Take an inventory of your belongings too, and craft an emergency plan for you and your family. Two important aspects of any emergency plan are should be survival and evacuation. Make sure you have drinking water, canned food, first aid, blankets, lights, and anything else you may need if flooding occurs and power is out. Also have well-planned and practiced evacuation routes between places like home, school and work that take advantage of higher ground.

Being aware of and prepared for the risks your home faces is extremely important, and buying the right home insurance policy is a big step in protecting your home and the people you love.