Ranger Jake describes the damage in Yellowstone National Park caused by the June 13 flooding

June 13, 2022 flood in Yellowstone National Park
June 13, 2022 flood in Yellowstone National Park. YNP image.

Yellowstone National Park released a video yesterday describing the massive damage to the park’s infrastructure that occurred June 13 when unseasonably warm weather, melting snow, and very heavy rain produced widespread flooding across the north end of the park. Yellowstone Digital Communications Specialist, Jake Frank, gives his first-hand account of the 500-year flood event.

These photos are still images from the video below.

June 13, 2022 flood in Yellowstone National Park
June 13, 2022 flood in Yellowstone National Park. YNP image.
June 13, 2022 flood in Yellowstone National Park
June 13, 2022 flood in Yellowstone National Park. YNP image.
June 13, 2022 flood in Yellowstone National Park
June 13, 2022 flood in Yellowstone National Park. YNP image.

More information is at www.nps.gov/yell

Wildfire convection may have contributed to a flood advisory

North of Miami

Smoke and flood advisory

There is a discussion on Twitter about to what extent, if any, fire-induced convection and smoke from a wildfire northwest of Miami contributed to downstream precipitation and a flood advisory north of the city. While it happened on April 1, I don’t see any indication that it is a joke.

There is a possibility that outflow from a nearby thunderstorm interacted with the convection and smoke from the wildfire to intensify the effects.

The thread was started by Philipe Papin, a meteorologist with the NWS National Hurricane Center.

One of the fires in that general area is the 12,000-acre L 30 Fire which has been burning since at least March 28.

Wildfires in the Miami area, April 1-2, 2022
Wildfires in the Miami area, April 1-2, 2022.

FEMA – After a fire your flood risk goes up

wildfire risk of flooding

In some cases a severe wildfire can leave the ground charred, barren, and  unable to absorb water. That means even light rain can potentially turn into a financially devastating flash flood or mudflow. Watch the video below to learn more about the importance of flood insurance.

Study quantifies flooding and wildfire suppression costs avoided by forest thinning

Schultz Fire flood
Flooding near Flagstaff following the 2010 Schultz Fire. (From “Field Trip Guide to the 2010 Schultz Fire Burn Area”.)

After the June, 2010 Schultz fire burned 15,000 acres in the Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff, Arizona, the floods that followed had an economic impact of about $130 million. Not only did the residential communities adjacent to the fire experience flooding, but subdivisions 10 miles away were also flooded.

Two recent studies have quantified the benefits of forest thinning projects from economic and ecological perspectives.

Below is an excerpt from an article in the Arizona Daily Sun:

[One] study calculated the potential wildfire and flood-related costs that will be avoided with the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project. The other study quantified the watershed benefits of forest thinning similar to that proposed by the Four Forest Restoration Initiative.

The FWPP economic study estimated that the wildfire and post-fire flooding-related costs Flagstaff will avoid could total between $573 million and $1.2 billion.

More than 70 percent of Flagstaff voters approved FWPP in 2012.

The study, which is likely one of the first to anticipate wildfire-related costs from flooding, helps put the FWPP’s initial price tag into context, said Paul Summerfelt, the city of Flagstaff’s wildland fire management officer.

“We’re using it to reassure voters that $10 million was wise investment,” he said. “We pay a little now to prevent, or a whole lot more later just to try to fix.”

The analysis, performed by Northern Arizona University’s Arizona Rural Policy Institute, accounted for everything from the projected costs of fighting a severe wildfire in Flagstaff’s watersheds to the revenues businesses could lose to post-wildfire flooding. That number, for example, came to $15 million over five years.


Firefighters assist with Colorado floods

Firefighters help trapped residents evacuate
Firefighters help trapped residents evacuate by National Guard helicopter. Photo by Justin Cowger.

Incident management teams that usually respond to wildfires found themselves in a position to help thousands of Colorado residents earlier this month when unprecedented amounts of rain caused massive flooding and damage to infrastructure

Today we have a guest author, someone who worked with one of the two incident management teams during their assignment September 13 through 24. Rae Brooks was an information officer with Shane Del Grosso’s team. Her background is in journalism.


By Rae Brooks

They came not to fight a fire, but to perform a rescue mission. 

On September 13, Shane Del Grosso’s Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team was deployed to Colorado to help manage the response to the flooding in Larimer County, north of Denver. A second Rocky Mountain Type 2 team, headed by Dan Dallas, managed the rescue response in Boulder County.

When Del Grosso’s team arrived in Fort Collins, hundreds of people remained trapped in mountain towns, cut off by roads that were likely to remain impassable for months. Thousands of homes were without power. Although the tally was not yet in, the county would eventually announce that 45 miles of roads and 65 bridges were either damaged or destroyed.

Highway 36 washout
The flood cut away a section of Highway 36 between Pinewood Springs and Estes Park. Photo by Justin Cowger

The flooded area in Larimer County delegated to the team covered 768 square miles, close to double the size of California’s Rim Fire, the largest in the nation this year. About 1,500 homes had been destroyed in the county, almost three times as many as the Black Forest Fire burned in June, the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history.

Wildland firefighters had to immediately get their minds around a simple fact: You can’t put out a flood. Their job on this mission would be to rescue traumatized people, aiding them however they could.

For most of the team, the flood was their first experience on a non-fire event. Although water-soaked terrain might seem a foreign environment for wildland firefighters, the work required — helicopter rescues in the mountains — was actually right up their alley.
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