October Brought Wildfires, November Brings Threat Of Mudslides With Rain

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The fires are contained, but now people who live near Northern California fire burn scars are bracing for more trouble.

A storm is forecasted for our area later this week, the first since the fires were contained.

For those whose homes survived the fires, they’ve returned to neighborhoods surrounded by blackened hills that are now prime real estate for flooding and mudslides.

RELATED: $3.3 Billion: California Wildfire Insurance Claims Set New Record

Outside Robert Seaman’s Grass Valley home, a sign hangs on his gate reading, “Thank you, firemen.”

Seaman’s home is still standing after the McCourtney Fire. He evacuated along with neighbors, but he’s the only one who returned here, home intact.

“Yeah there’s like five properties around me,” Seaman said. “I’m the only one of the five with basically no damage, not a structure or anything down.”

The next door neighbor’s home is a total loss, with mangled debris left on the charred land.

After the firefight here Nevada County teamed up with the state Department of Toxic Substance Control to remove hazardous debris on properties.

What’s left of this fire-ravaged terrain still has firefighters and forecasters concerned as storms now approach. Burned vegetation increases the risks of mudslides, and flooding.

Calfire has deployed watershed emergency response teams to identify problem spots.

“They’re assessing what needs to be done here and there, what has the potential for a slide, what do we need to do over here for erosion control,” CalFire deputy Chief Scott McLean said.

Some wildfires burn so hotly, flames can bake the earth, creating an ashy crust that rainwater won’t penetrate.

“It will actually just run off like a sheet of glass,” McLean said.

It’s a warning to those who live along Northern California fire burn scars.

“Oh yeah there definitely is, there’s a few places I mean obviously when you have burned out ground above you, nothing to hold the dirt, when it does pour it’s gonna go somewhere,” Seaman said.

Following October’s catastrophic fires, now concerns over Novembers first forecast storm system.

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