At the direction of Grand County’s Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), Community Development and the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) have been working with FEMA to get Grand County home and property owners access to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which provides discounted flood insurance to homeowners (compared with private insurers).
While purchasing flood insurance can seem counterintuitive to people living at higher elevations in Grand County, flood-after-fire events often come with very little warning, require very little rainfall, and can inflict a great deal of damage.
“The East Troublesome Fire left that land without vegetation to help absorb rainfall,” explains Alexis Kimbrough, Grand County OEM’s Deputy Director. “The soil itself has a hardened crust, almost acting like concrete when redirecting water. These conditions turn what would normally be simply a thunderstorm into a flash flood event.”
Kimbrough continued that mudflows – where water picks up ash and debris left from wildfire – can result in extreme damage to homes and property.
FEMA requires communities that participate in the NFIP to adopt Floodplain Regulations. Community Development and the OEM have been working with FEMA to identify flood hazard areas and flood risks within Grand County. A draft of the Floodplain Regulations is currently available to the public on Grand County’s website: co.grand.co.us/Community-Development.
The draft regulations will be presented to the Grand County Planning Commission April 14, and at a public hearing before the BOCC April 27.
“Our goal – should the BOCC vote to move forward with adopting the Floodplain Regulations, and following FEMA approval – is to enable Grand County residents to apply for flood insurance through the NFIP in advance of summer monsoons,” said Robert Davis, Grand County Community Development Director.
The NFIP is required to accept all applicants who live in communities that participate in the NFIP.
To learn more about being prepared for flood-after-fire events, visit co.grand.co.us.