Fires wreak havoc on communities with effects that last long after the initial event. One of the less well known but more insidious impacts of a fire is erosion. Fires denude the landscape, destroying vegetation and the roots that anchor the soil. Fire can also effectively bake the topsoil, which renders the dirt hydrophobic. Hydrophobic dirt repels water instead of absorbing it. When rain falls on this overheated, hydrophobic, bare dirt, less rainfall is absorbed than pre-fire. This leads to increased runoff. Storm runoff might sound harmless but it can turn deadly. One fire alone can cause such significant erosion damage that it creates the conditions for a dangerous mudslide that unmoors homes and sends them careening downhill to form a massive debris flow. Tragically, the erosion damage from the Thomas Fire of 2017 created the conditions for a catastrophic mudslide in Montecito, California that killed 21 people.
We work with civil engineers with expertise in erosion, hydrology, and watersheds to assess the erosion damages on your property. Our experts provide detailed reports that we use to tailor our demands for compensation and set forth a plan for mitigation and land restoration. We take the time to assess our clients’ fire damages from every angle, including the costly damage caused by fire related erosion.