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Rains Bring Floods To Fire-Damaged Areas

Heavy rains have drenched the drought-stricken Southwest in recent days. While that’s good news for some, the storms have some people panicking.

Aired 8/28/13 on KPBS News.

Rains are bringing much needed relief to the drought-stricken region of the Southwest, but is bringing with it the threat further damage.

Ashes remain where a home once stood in Yarnell.

The devastation caused by the Yarnell Hill Fire isn’t over. The fire that killed 19 local firefighters and destroyed a hundred homes now brings the threat of mudslides.

National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Klimawski said the first year is the worst.

"The first year after a burn that area is highly susceptible to flash flooding," Klimawski said. "The soils are still hydrophobic, there’s a lot of ash that can wash down, a lot of issues that contribute to a greatly enhanced threat of flash flooding."

Klimawski said after three to four years vegetation will take root on the hillside and decrease the potential for mudslides. Many people whose homes were spared by the fire are now buying flood insurance.

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