[12/12/18] Cougar Creek Post-Wildfire Community Meeting

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Local agencies are hosting a community meeting this month for property owners in the Mad River watershed area and other interested parties impacted by this summer’s Cougar Creek Fire.

The meeting will be at 1 p.m. this Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Entiat Fire Hall, 2200 Entiat Way. Experts on analyzing post-fire conditions will be on hand to talk about potential flood risks and steps homeowners can take to be better prepared for any flooding or mud flow events.

After a wildfire, there is a heightened potential of flooding or debris flows,” said Mike Cushman, director of the Cascadia Conservation District. “We encourage those residents living in the Mad River area and other burned areas below natural drainages or steep slopes to attend this meeting and to ask questions.”

Several agencies will have representatives at the event, including Cascadia Conservation District, Chelan County Emergency Management, Chelan County Public Works, Chelan County Fire District No. 8, the Chelan County Flood Control Zone District, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NCRS) and the U.S. Forest Service.

The Cascadia Conservation District and NCRS have been working with homeowners to alert them as to how their properties may be at risk from debris flows or flooding from the Cougar Creek Fire, which burned nearly 43,000 acres and later initiated a Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Assessment.  A BAER assessment is a U.S. Forest Service study of the ability of burned soils to hold water after a wildfire.

Burned soil assessments for the fire found that the fire burned primarily within the Mad River watershed. Within the watershed, 30 percent of soils burned at a high and moderate severity.

Residents in the Mad River watershed, or those living below burned areas, are also reminded to follow these post-fire tips:

Be aware of the weather. That means staying on top of large rain events by following weather reports or a NOAA weather radio. Do not wait for a warning to evacuate should heavy rain and flooding develop.

Have an exit plan in place for if you should need to leave your property. And include your neighbors in that plan. Talk to your neighbors about forming phone trees to spread important information, or emergency check-ins if evacuations are necessary.

Look into purchasing post-fire flood insurance. Go to FloodSmart.Gov for more information.