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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Why Is Flooding More Dangerous After a Fire?

4/24/2020 (Permalink)

Wildfire Wilfire in New Caney, TX

Why Is Flooding More Dangerous After a Fire?

Fires destroy structures and the surrounding natural environment. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that commercial property owners in regions prone to wildfires enroll in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Find out more about FEMA NFIP coverage and why the risk of flooding is heightened after wildfire damage in New Caney, TX.

More Surface Erosion
Widespread fires burn through living plants and other ground covers. All of the following types of plant matter are destroyed by fire:

  • Grasses
  • Shrubs
  • Trees

When these plants are present, leaves and ground cover slow the flow of runoff. Stems and roots promote absorption into the ground. After a fire eliminates plants and the litter layer of fallen leaves, the affected area experiences increased soil erosion.

Less Ground Absorption
In addition to having less ground cover to slow the flow of water and promote absorption, some wildfires also cause the upper layer of soil to become hydrophobic or water-repellent. It may take some time for this layer to break down naturally, and any plants that are reintroduced must be planted below the hydrophobic layer. When the ground cannot absorb water, this can lead to increased runoff and flooding damage that is only covered by flood insurance like FEMA NFIP.

More Debris Flows and Landslides
An area affected by wildfire damage has an elevated risk of debris flows or landslides for several years. Debris flows of water, loose soil and rock can move at speeds up to 100 miles per hour. These flows combine all of the destructive power of a flood with an increased risk of property damage or injury due to the presence of debris.
Fire and flooding both pose major risks of damage to a commercial building in New Caney, TX. Commercial property owners should obtain FEMA NFIP coverage to ensure that insurance coverage for restoring flood damage is available after a widespread blaze.

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