Pumas National Forest warns of hazardous conditions from rain events after wildfires

Heavy rain, snow and wind can cause issues even under normal circumstances, but in areas where a wildfire has occurred significant rainfall and wind can create additional hazards.

In post-fire areas there is an increased potential for flash flooding, soil erosion, debris flows, falling trees, and rockfalls. The fire scar areas of the Dixie Fire, Sheep Fire, North Complex, Walker Fire and Beckwourth Complex have a higher possibility for these types of post-fire situations. As a reminder, some areas of these fires remain closed to access for public safety (see map of fire scars, closures may be found at fs.usda.gov/alerts/plumas/alerts-notices and fs.usda.gov/alerts/lassen/alerts-notices).

The public is advised to use additional caution when in, or traveling through, any of these post-fire areas. You should also be aware that burned areas can present safety hazards to homes and other structures, campgrounds, roads, and other infrastructure adjacent to, and downstream from, these fires. Flash flooding can occur during a rain event or can also occur afterwards, when water flow has been blocked behind accumulated debris and then unexpectedly releases.

Here’s a map of fire scar areas of which the public should be aware. Graphic submitted

If you will be hunting, hiking, or driving through the forest, we recommend you have a plan; inform someone of your plans (location, departure time, estimated time of arrival (eta)); and stay situationally aware about the hazards where you will be visiting. Make sure you are prepared for delays or situations that might arise as a result of these hazardous conditions.

Finally, there are some less obvious hazards when driving through these fire scar areas. Heavy equipment is utilized in fire suppression repair work, and equipment operators have blind spots, as well as wide turning and travel requirements. Give this equipment ample maneuvering space. We also recommend you stay on paved roads and avoid soft berms or recently repaired areas – they might have soft, saturated soils where it would be easy to get a vehicle stuck.

Recommended sites to stay up to date on changing and developing weather conditions are weather.gov/sto/ and weather.gov/rev/.