Floods following wildfires: recommendation from NHMA

A large wildfire can so significantly alter the Hydrology and Hydraulics of a watershed such that the flooding characteristics of that watershed are vastly different from the predicted flood heights & areas on a FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map.

Flash floods, floods, mudflow, mudslide, and many other extreme hazards may well take place in areas which historically were at much lower risk.

We at NHMA would like to suggest that local and state governments seriously consider working with FEMA, USDA and any other expert agency to distribute some sort of advisory notice, preferably including an advisory map of the new flood risk in watersheds significantly damaged by wildfire. In the past FEMA has sometimes helped fund such mapping and awareness programs in areas of disasters declared under the Stafford Act.

Folks in areas at higher risk can thus be notified of the new or significantly different risk to life and property in afflicted watersheds and also take advantage of the provisions in the new federal law which permit FEMA to waive the 30 day waiting period for flood insurance to take effect.

Exception to 30-day Waiting Period for Flood Insurance Coverage for Private Properties Affected by Flooding on Federal Lands

 FEMA Encourages Residents to Purchase Insurance Policies Now

July 12, 2012

Floods are the number one natural disaster in the United States in terms of lives lost and property damaged. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provides a means for property owners to protect themselves against the financial effects of flooding, which typically are not covered by standard homeowners insurance. The NFIP offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners if their community participates in the NFIP. Participating communities agree to adopt and enforce ordinances that meet or exceed FEMA requirements to reduce the risk of flooding.

The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, signed into law this past Friday, July 6, 2012 may make residents in communities subjected to an elevated risk of flooding, eligible for an exception from the 30-day waiting period usually required for flood insurance coverage. Eligibility for the exception is determined on a case-by-case basis.

  View the complete Advisory: [pdf]

Fort Collins answered this call to action. View the YouTube video.