After fires, B.C. communities at higher risk of floods and landslides

By Glenda Luymes
Vancouver Sun
August 29, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Where fires burn, floods often follow.  The environmental impacts of B.C.’s devastating wildfire season will be felt well beyond this summer, experts say, with numerous examples from past years where communities hit by fire found themselves facing another disaster months later.  Because burned slopes no longer effectively absorb and moderate rainfall and snowmelt, flooding and landslides are often part of the “cascading effects” of wildfires, said John Clague, an earth sciences professor at Simon Fraser University.  …Fire also causes a big risk of landslides and debris flows, particularly on steep slopes that have been logged in the past, he explained. …The risk can remain elevated for a long time, said Clague, as the needles, stems and branches of large trees that once intercepted precipitation and shaded snowy slopes don’t do that job anymore.

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