This winter has been a bad one for fires. Earlier in the winter wildfires raged across Northern California and decimated thousands of acres, and at the moment, Southern California is facing a similar situation. Like most natural disasters, wildfires typically appear with little warning, and the dry, hot conditions in the area are conducive to spreading quickly.
Natural disaster insurance in the form of wildfire/brush fire insurance isn’t a bad idea if you live in California – particularly the hot, dry areas in and around Santa Clarita. However, simply covering yourself with natural disaster insurance in the case of a fire may not be enough, as the threat that wildfires pose isn’t just related to its flames. When wildfires move through an area, the odds of a flash flood occurring there increase dramatically, even in areas not typically prone to floods. Under normal conditions, vegetation absorbs water from precipitation and prevents runoff. When a wildfire moves through an area, it consumes vegetation and leaves the ground charred and unable to absorb water. Thus, conditions are created in which flash floods and mudslides are increasingly likely.
Southern California is known for a lot of things, but not for its rainfall. That being said, when the ground has been burned and the landscape altered due to a wildfire, even a moderate amount of rain higher up in the surrounding mountains can cause flash floods and mudslides. According to FEMA, the area remains in a higher flood risk for about 5 years, or until vegetation can grow back and the ground can return to normal.
The unpredictability of natural disasters means that preparing for them has to be done well in advance; long before the disaster occurs. If your home is in an area that’s prone to wildfires, it’s also in an area that’s prone to floods, and you’ll want to be protected from both. Only flood insurance covers floods, even if the flooding is a result of a fire that passed through the area.