In 10 seconds? Heavy downpours are becoming more frequent and intense following more extensive and severe wildfires, due to anthropogenic climate change, and increasing the risk of significant landslides and flash floods.

Come again? How are wildfires linked to heavy rainfall? Yes, researchers have found that wildfires in the Western United States are very likely to be followed by extreme rainfall. Wildfires occur during warm, dry seasons so, you may be wondering how that can create the conditions for flash floods and landslides. Well, wildfires change ground conditions by drying out the soil and removing vegetation that is protecting the ground from direct rainfall. These changes prevent the ground from being able to sufficiently absorb water for up to 8 years following a wildfire. If heavy rainfall occurs within this time, then we get landslides and flashfloods which can be detrimental to infrastructure and lives. For example, heavy rain following the 2018 fires in California caused $200 million in damages and took 23 people’s lives.

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