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David Yost / FEMA

Oregon state agencies, federal and local partners formed a multi-agency team to analyze potential post-fire flooding and erosion threats on and below public and private lands as a result of September’s catastrophic wildfires in western Oregon.

When fire burns across the landscape, it can change the way the soils drain and loosen or damage roots and vegetation, making some areas more susceptible to sudden landslides and flooding. The team’s work will prioritize evaluating threats to human life, water quality and other important ecological functions.

Potential erosion, debris flow and flooding impacts and mitigation treatments will be evaluated on level of risk, feasibility and cost. The team is composed of experts across many disciplines and includes hydrologists, foresters, geologists, soil scientists, biologists, ecologists, engineers, archaeologists, mapping experts and more. Their assessments and findings will help state and local partners prioritize investments in post-fire restoration to protect human life and safety, and other values across the landscape.

The Erosion Threat Assessment and Reduction Team (ETART) has already started its work across the state and will release preliminary findings at the end of November, giving communities information to better understand where fire recovery work will be needed.

As the weather transitions to wetter winter conditions, the amount of snow and rain will increase the need for awareness of potential post-fire flooding and debris flows.

A fact sheet answering broad questions about the ETART effort is available on: https://cdn.govstatus.site/292940cb8150d14a088fec0c14e65a64fc25a514/NCRRTF_ETART_FACTSHEET_20201106.pdf (and in Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese). Links to access the information and associated resources will be made available at the end of the month through the state’s wildfire recovery website: wildfire.oregon.gov and on social media.

For more information, please reach out to the Wildfire Recovery Information Center at fire.info@oregon.gov. For specific questions about the ETART, please email 2020wildfiresetart@fema.dhs.gov.

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