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Flash-flood watch issued for Northern California burn regions

Predicted rainfall could cause debris flows

While the incoming rain and wind will bring relief to the Bay Area, now under the chokehold of smoke stemming from the Camp Fire, the wet weather poses yet another threat for Butte County and other areas affected by the Northern California fires.

From Wednesday afternoon through Friday morning, a flash-flood watch has been issued for Camp, Carr, Delta, Hirz, and Mendocino Complex areas burned by recent wildfires.

“Those traveling or in the areas along Interstate 5 and Highway 299 in the western portion of Shasta County, and along portions of Highway 70 and the Skyway in Butte County should be alert for possible road problems due to flooding, rock, and debris flows,” warns the National Weather Service.

The loss of forest cover due to a wildfire destabilizes soil and makes it unable to absorb rain, which can lead to immediate flooding. Flash floods can then cause debris flows since trees and vegetation burnt or damaged by fire become unstable and thus prone to falling or moving during rain and wind.

Debris flows in the Camp Fire region could be especially dangerous as the remains of tens of thousands of structures destroyed by the fire have yet to be cleared.

One of the main causes of death during storms and floods is driving or walking through floodwaters. Something to keep in mind if you are in or traveling to the area. Residents, emergency responders, and anyone traveling in the area are urged to keep an eye out for evacuation orders if they occur.

The Camp Fire, which has burned more than 151,000 acres, destroyed more than 11,000 homes.