Wildfire Burn Scars Raise Flash Flood Concerns - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Wildfire Burn Scars Raise Flash Flood Concerns

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Recent fires have raised concerns for the possibility of flash flooding in areas of Washoe County.

The intersection of Vista Boulevard and east Prater Way is no stranger to flash flooding. Heavy rainwater hit the area spring of 2016 and also during the summer of 2015.

Andrew Hummel, the utility manager for the city of Sparks said, "We actually have a capital improvement project we're starting a design on in a couple of weeks to look at this area further and come up with some plans on how to fix it."

However in the meantime there's no long-term solution. There are only storm drains and culverts to help pass the water during a flash flood and then city workers to clean up the mess once it's all over.

"All the equipment is fueled up ready to go, the sweepers are ready, the trucks are ready, so if we need to come get mud off the road and get motorists moving as quickly as we can that's what we do,” said Hummel.

Sparks clean-up crews could really have their hands full this next time around. Chris Smallcomb with the National Weather Service says the chance for heavier run off and debris at Vista and Prater is higher than usual because of recent wildfires nearby.

"Off of the Prater Fire burn area, off of the Earthstone Fire, so we'll be a little bit quicker to issue flash flood warnings for those spots as well.”

Another area Smallcomb is concerned about for flash flooding is the site of the Farad Fire. That fire burned heavy fuels, causing more considerable damage to the surface than a grass fire would. Take the cooked vegetation and put it on a steep hill and you have a recipe for fast moving run-off.

"The hotter burn area, very steep terrain that's kind of raised our freak-out level in terms of flash flooding on the Farad Fire there by Interstate-80," said Smallcomb.

Flash flooding can affect anybody up in the hills or down in the valleys. If you see flash flooding on the roads, turn around and don’t drive through the water.

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