Rain bringing concerns due to possible flash floods and landslides

Western Washington is finally getting the rain it very much needed, and the hope is it will wash away all the smoke.

However, this rain brings concerns because of the recent wildfires.

State and county officials are worried the rain may be too much for the burn scars felt behind by the Bolt Creek Fire, and with its proximity to Highway 2 and towns within the vicinity, debris flows are possible.

“I think around one-quarter of the burned area was severely burned, those areas will repel water. The water doesn’t percolate well and soil can start to move, trees have been damaged, the roots have been damaged. They are shallow routed trees anyway on those steep rocky slopes, so it doesn’t take a lot to push them over,” said Don Ferguson, Public Information Officer for the Bolt Creek Fire.

The Washington State Department of Transportation says between mileposts 38 and 50 there is at higher risk of flash floods and landslides.

Those who live on or below hillsides, especially in areas impacted by recent wildfires, are asked to be aware of debris flows.

If there is moderate to heavy rainfall, the National Weather Service urges people to not wait for a flash flood warning. They say there may be very little time to react.

“We ask that folks be prepared — so that means stopping at the grocery store on your way home today, maybe picking up that prescription if you need to grab that before the weekend starts, because we could see a longer-term closure again of U.S. 2,” said RB McKeon, spokesperson for WSDOT.

The Bolt Creek fire is still active, growing to over 14,820 acres, and is at 45% containment.

Ferguson says the while investigators are still looking into the cause of the fire, they have determined it was human-caused and started from a car fire.

Drivers traveling on Highway 2 are urged to call 911 if they see any downed trees or signs of landslides.