Cities Preparing For Storms, Possible Flash Flooding Near Burn Scars

Jul 28, 2021, 7:20 AM | Updated: May 21, 2023, 4:47 pm

LEHI, Utah — Prevention efforts are underway in northern Utah as burn scars from past wildfires leave some areas prone to flash flooding and mudslides.

Flash flooding caused extensive damage in southern Utah earlier this week and more flood watches and warnings could be issued for the Wasatch Front throughout the weekend.

Fire marshals from several cities told KSL TV they have been prepping for mudslides for nearly a year.

“After we had the fire last year, it left a pretty significant burn scar up in the Traverse Mountain area,” said Cameron Boyle, assistant city administrator in Lehi. “We got right to work.”

The Traverse Fire burned dangerously close to homes in Draper and Lehi last year, forcing the evacuation of nearly 100 homes.

Lehi crews started working with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to start reseeding the area last year.

“And berms have been placed on the hillside, and you can see where they have channeled the flow to control the water,” Boyle said.

The hillside now has an entire drainage system that didn’t exist a year ago.

“It’s working,” Boyle said. “Residents near Traverse need to trust the system. Any attempt to lay their own individual sandbags could divert the water flow and cause flooding.“

On the other side of Utah County, public works crews in Mapleton are on day five of removing large debris and sludge from roads.

(Mapleton Fire Department) (Mapleton Fire Department) (Mapleton Fire Department)

“Thursday‘s flood was devastating, but it was contained to the road due to planning and studying the burn scar. No homes were damaged,” said Chief Nick Glasgow with the Mapleton Fire Department.

The Ether Hollow burn scar provided a runway for large branches and gallons of mud to flood the Mapleton area Thursday.

“The way we save lives is through better communication. That is why today, we have officially enrolled a new evacuation system by providing each household with a green cone. This is a 2-3 year timeframe where we have to watch this mountain carefully,” Glasgow said.

Fire crews in Tooele County have also placed berms surrounding the burn scar from 2019’s Green Ravine Fire. Fire marshals said the Lake Point area is holding against the rain.

County officials told KSL TV 40 homeowners near the burn scar have added flood insurance to their coverage.

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Cities Preparing For Storms, Possible Flash Flooding Near Burn Scars