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Did you know that after fire flooding can cause debris flow and landslides?
Landslides are masses of rock, earth or debris moving down a slope. They are activated by rainstorms, earthquakes, fires and human-caused projects, such as construction. Landslides can vary widely in size and can move at slow or very high speeds depending on slope angle, water content and geologic characteristics of the ground both at the surface and at depth. Flows are often initiated by heavy periods of rainfall, but can sometimes happen as a result of concentrated rainfall. Land movement related to landslides, mud and debris flows, and rockfalls occur naturally across Colorado on an ongoing basis. It is estimated that there are thousands of landslides in Colorado each year although the number, frequency, and severity fluctuate. Landslides constitute a major geologic hazard because they are widespread, occur in all 50 states and U.S. territories, cause $1-2 billion in damages and result in 25 to 50 fatalities on average each year. Expansion of urban and recreational developments into hillside areas leads to more people being exposed to the threat of landslides each year.
Note: Generally, landslide insurance is not available, but debris flow damage, in some cases may be covered by flood insurance policies from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) at www.FloodSmart.gov. Despite the risk, everyone can take steps to prepare for landslides and rockslides. Explore the information below to learn more about landslide preparedness.
References, Resources and More Information:
On March 8, 2010, a large rockfall in the Glenwood Canyon shut down Interstate 70. Twenty boulders, ranging from three feet to 10 feet in diameter, fell on the interstate. As they fell, these heavy rocks punched several holes through the roadway, including one that was 20 feet by 10 feet. The largest boulder weighed 66 tons! Crews were able to restore one lane in each direction within four days, eliminating the two-hour detour and preventing any long-term disruptions to tourism and the transportation industry. Between maintenance, traffic control and repairs, the total cost of the incident was $2,180,000.
Cover photo courtesy of the Colorado Department of Transportation