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Post Wildfires, Washington Officials Warn Of Floods, Mudslides

Following a summer of record wildfires across the Northwest, Washington state officials worry that residents in burned-over areas could be facing floods and mud in the wake of incoming storms.

Last year massive mudslides hit burned areas near Twisp, Washington. Broad rivers of mud ate away highways, buried farms and blew past earthen dams.

Washington State Department of Ecology’s Joye Redfield-Wilder said the department is installing early-warning weather monitoring stations.

“An example is the Entiat Valley where downstream there is a real risk,” she said. “We not only have a rain gauge but we also have a stream gauge -- because if the stream rising that could also lead to flooding.”

Redfield-Wilder said Ecology installed 17 remote stations last year and 9 more this year. They’re mainly in the Methow and Okanogan areas.

The department said the stations will send information to the National Weather Service and social media to warn people.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.