Flood After Fire

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Yavapai County urges residents to protect their homes, businesses, and personal property with flood insurance as rainy season approaches. Policies typically take 30 days to go into effect, so it is important for residents to call their insurance agents now to plan ahead.

Yavapai County, AZ – As multiple regions in Yavapai County recover from the devastation caused by wildfires, Yavapai County warns residents living in and surrounding wildfire areas about the high risk of flash flooding and mudflows, and urges them to protect their homes, businesses, and personal property with flood insurance. Wildfires result in a loss of vegetation and leave the ground charred and unable to absorb water. This creates conditions for flooding. Even areas that are not traditionally flood-prone are at risk of flooding for up to several years after a wildfire.

“It is important to remember that wildfires can impact flooding potential for years after a fire,” said Lynn Whitman, director of the Yavapai County Flood Control District. “Due to the lack of rain this past winter, regrowth in the Goodwin Fire area has been stagnant and areas that were impacted by the storms last summer face increased risk of flooding again this year.”

Floods are the most common and expensive natural disaster in the U.S. Just an inch of water in an average-sized home can cause more than $25,000 in damage. Most homeowner and renters’ insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Flood insurance is a separate policy that protects homes and belongings from floodwater damage so residents can recover after a storm.

For more information about flood after fire watch this short video. For more information about flood insurance, visit www.FloodSmart.gov.

Graphic depicting flood after fire

The District consistently observes and monitors area wildfires including the Rafael, Backbone, and north Paulden burn areas for flooding potential during the upcoming monsoon season. There is a reasonable potential that the watersheds within the burn areas, including areas such as Sycamore Canyon, Spring Creek, and Oak Creek, will see increased water and mud flows as the debris and ash from the fires are washed downstream.

Yavapai County is part of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Any residential structure in Yavapai County is insurable under the NFIP regardless of flood risk zone. This includes structures included in the Special Flood Hazard Area as mapped by FEMA. There is a waiver of the 30-day wait period for flood insurance if any claims are for a flood resulting from a wild land fire on federal property. The insurance still needs to be purchased prior to the flood event. Any residents downstream of the burn area are encouraged to talk to your insurance agent about obtaining flood insurance.

**If you are a resident living near burn areas, please send your flood status request to Floodstatus@yavapaiaz.gov. We typically monitor these requests daily.

For more information on the effects of wildfire on flooding go to FloodSmart | Flood After Fire: The Increased Risk or see our Flood After Fire Fact Sheet. You can find out more about flood insurance from your insurance agent or the www.floodsmart.gov website. For flood risk specific to your property, please feel free to contact the Flood Control District.