After The Fire

Chelan County Public Works Department, combined with the county’s Flood Control Zone District, has provided an update to our After the Fire webpage.  This page offers information to Chelan County residents impacted by the recent wildfires. In addition to the County’s webpage, Cascadia Conservation District and the U.S. Forest Service have provided useful information.  Click here to visit Cascadia Conservation District's webpage.

Information for Home Owners & Property Owners

On June 28, 2015, fire swept through Wenatchee, destroying dozens of homes and ultimately scorching nearly 3,000 acres. The fire burned hillsides and stripped them of vegetation vital for stabilizing these slopes. Then, on Aug. 14, 2015, several lightning strike fires began early in the day, fueled by strong winds and dry conditions, to become the Chelan Complex Fires, which burned dozens of homes and outbuildings and scorched over 88,000 acres. Now stripped of vegetation and blackened from heat, these hillsides are at increased risk for severe runoff of debris during a rain event.  

The impact of rainfall over a burned area can be severe. The burned surface cannot absorb even light to normal rainfall, causing the precipitation to travel quickly and take rocks, dirt and other debris with it and overwhelm drainage systems. In response to the Sleepy Hollow Fire, on July 9, 2015, Chelan County Public Works installed a larger, second culvert under Scenic View Drive, between Sleepy Hollow Heights and Skyview Court, where this runoff is now more likely to occur. This increased capacity is expected to better convey material and water should precipitation cause a runoff event.

There is no way to prevent flooding, and steps to mitigate the impact can only reduce the impact to public infrastructure and private property. But there are steps property owners can take to reduce the damage to homes and property. Most options are affordable and require only a little preparation.

First and foremost, it is vital to maintain drainways on your property, whether they be natural or developed, and to cut back brush, remove rock and yard waste and any structures that might impede conveyance of runoff. If you have a culvert under your driveway, regular inspection and removal of any materials will help the culvert from being overwhelmed and backing up over your driveway and into your yard and the roadway. If you see a clogged culvert in your neighborhood that is the County's responsibility, contact the County to make a service request to address the issue.

More information regarding post-fire recovery: