Publication Date January 14, 2016

Wildfire-charred California communities face serious landslide threat during stormy El Nino pattern

United States
Mud and debris flow down hillsides burned in a recent brush fire after heavy rain from the first in a series of El Niño storms that passed over the area above Solimar Beach in Ventura, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. Photo: AP/Joel Angel Juárez)

El Niño will continue to churn out destructive storms with flooding rainfall and other serious impacts. However, for areas charred by wildfires, the intense stormy pattern means even more trouble.

2015 was one of the most severe fire seasons in California history. From the Lake Fire to the Valley Fire, hundreds of thousands of acres were destroyed and several people were killed.

After a fire burns an area of land, the vegetation roots that help stabilize the soil are destroyed. Debris left behind can be pushed around with ease in heavy rain. Just like ashes after a bonfire, the debris is light.