After wildfires comes flooding, 97% of Utahns aren’t prepared

Local (Wasatch Front)

BOUNTIFUL, Utah (ABC4 News) – Flooding after a wildfire is a one-two punch. The ground can no longer absorb water, so light rain can lead to devastating flash floods and mudslides. An overwhelming amount of Utahns aren’t prepared, according to Division of Emergency Management. 

In addition to burning and damaging multiple homes in Bountiful, the Gun Range Fire also left a large burn scar on the mountainside.

Homes in the burn scar area, Bountiful and Centerville, are at risk of flooding for the next five-10 years.

Emergency management says flooding is the most common disaster in Utah yet 97-percent of homeowners and renters in the state don’t have proper flood coverage.

“Not just flood insurance, but also looking at earthquake insurance. Those policies can really save you in a difficult time,” explained Kathy Holder, Division of Emergency Management. “We’ve had many Utahns, especially with floods, who have been devastated. We’ve even had individuals who have lost their homes because they didn’t have the money to recover from a flood event.”

Holder says, even if your home wasn’t directly impacted by a wildfire, you are at increased risk of flooding.

“The water will go anywhere. So if you’re living down a mountain, downstream, of any of those burn scars, and we have several of them throughout Utah that have happened over the past several years, then you need to be looking at how you can mitigate that risk,” she told ABC4 News.

The Division of Emergency Management says right now, the beginning of National Preparedness Month, is a good time to make sure you’re ready in case any sort of disaster strikes.

Emergency and disaster preparedness tips:

  • Have an emergency plan
  • Prepare medications and supplies
  • Gather important documents 
  • Make or buy 72-Hour Survival Kit

“Looking at your evacuation routes. You need to look and find out where you’re going to all meet. If you’re in different places, is there a general person you are going to contact? Phone lines will be busy in an emergency so you’ll want to have an out of state contact. And also look at texting, because if the phone lines are busy, a lot of times texts can come through,” Holder recommended.

For a full list of preparedness tips, click here.

How to make a flood insurance claim with FEMA:

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