TOOLE, Utah (ABC4) — People who live in Tooele County could see an increased risk of flooding this year because of last year’s wildfires. Those who live in the county know areas like Soldier Canyon are prone to flooding, as seen in August 2021 when Soldier Creek overflowed.
The Jacob City burn scar from last summer has only made things worse. The fire burned over 4,000 acres, and the biggest issue with burn scars is the lack of vegetation, according to the Utah Department of Natural Resources.
Burn scars are defined as marks on a piece of land that was ravaged by a wildfire. Oftentimes, these marks contribute to changes in the landscape, such as trees and plants failing to grow due to the damaged soil.
“The vegetation will oftentimes absorb some of that moisture, and in burn areas, or burn scars, if they had burned particularly hot the soil is oftentimes hydrophobic, so the water won’t absorb into the soil, and it will just run down the hill,” said Fire Prevention Specialist Kelly Wickens.
Wickens added the strength of the fire can also impact the damage done to the soil in the area. The DNR has teams that perform rehab work and seed burn scars, but it often takes two to eight years for vegetation to regrow.
Roughly 25,000 acres of land were burned by wildfires last year in Utah. Another area of potential flood concern is an area in Millard County where the Halfway Hill fire occurred last July, destroying more than 11,000 acres of land in its wake.