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Utah County residents prep for possible flooding near burn scars

(Tanner Siegworth, KSL TV)

SPANISH FORK — The Utah National Guard is being sent to Utah County to help protect homes from the potential floods that could come down from the burn scars around the Bald Mountain and Pole Creek fires.

Sandbags have been filled and UDOT has supplied 4400 feet of concrete barriers to keep the potential floods away.

Weather watchers say we don’t want to see an intense amount of rain falling in a short period of time.

“Burn scars produce debris flows when we have thunderstorm activity with high intensity and short duration rainfall,” he says.

However, National Weather Service Hydrologist Brian McInerney says that not the kind of rainfall they’re expecting.  He says their forecasts show there will be a slow and steady amount of water, adding up to roughly two inches over the course of the entire storm.

“We’ve had many experiences where we have had six or seven days of light rain over a burn scar and not have any movement at all,” McInerney says.

Still, there could be pockets of heavier moisture within the overall storm, so, emergency officials say everyone in the area should get ready.  Plus, Kathy Holder with the Division of Emergency Management says everyone should get flood insurance.

She says, “FEMA is not going to come in and pay for [homeowner’s] damages.  Usually, when FEMA comes in it’s to help with the roads, the infrastructure and all those things.”

Normally, it takes 30 days for a policy to go into effect, but, Holder says that can be waived if someone buys their policy within 60 days of a fire’s end and they can prove the flooding came from a burn scar.

“There is a very good chance that 30 days can be waived if there is a flood,” Holder says.