Rain Season Could Bring Devastating Mudslides to Areas Hit by California Wildfires

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 6 (UPI) — Areas burned by the Station fire in Los Angeles could experience “big debris flows” and mudslides during the coming rain season, federal officials said Tuesday.

The U.S. Geological Survey issued a forecast warning foothill communities affected by the Station fire are 80 percent likely to have flows of up to 100,000 cubic yards of debris — enough to cover a football field with 60 vertical feet of mud and rock — the Los Angeles Times reported.

The warning was based on a study of terrain destroyed in the fire, which burned 250 square miles in August and September.

“Some of the areas burned by the Station fire show the highest likelihood for big debris flows that I’ve ever seen,” USGS research geologist Susan Cannon said.

“We don’t have the science to model where it will travel, but there’s a really good chance of a big debris flow happening within that drainage system,” she said.

The USGS said there were high probabilities that an intense thunderstorm lasting three hours or a gentle rain that lasts 12 hours could be enough to trigger mudflows in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Categorized | Trees & Forestry
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