Heavy Rain Brings Landslide Risk

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With flash flood watches in effect for multiple areas of Oregon, be alert for landslides.

The National Weather Service is continuing flash flood watches for fire burn areas in northwest Oregon through Wednesday morning. Flash flood watches are also in effect from Tuesday night through Wednesday afternoon for fire burn areas in southwest Oregon, including the Chetco Bar and North Umpqua Complex wildfire burn scars.

"Heavy rain can lead to landslides and debris flows, especially in wildfire burn scars," says Bill Burns, engineering geologist at the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI). "With the rain continuing, be aware of the hazard in wildfire burn areas and the areas below them."

Debris flows are rapidly moving, extremely destructive landslides. They can contain boulders and logs transported in a fast-moving soil and water slurry down steep hillsides and through narrow canyons. They can easily travel a mile or more. A debris flow moves faster than a person can run.

People, structures and roads located below steep slopes in canyons and near the mouths of canyons may be at serious risk. Extreme caution should be used when traveling.

According to DOGAMI, hazardous areas can include:

- Bases of steep hillsides.

- Road cuts or other areas where slopes of hills have been excavated or over-steepened.

- Places where slides or debris flows have occurred in the past.

- Canyon bottoms, stream channels, and areas of rock and soil accumulation at the outlets of canyons.

Link to Landslide Risk Map

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