DENVER (KDVR) — Last year came close to making the top 10 for wildfire acres burned, and a new report from FEMA analyzes the number of acres burned and the risks that remain once the fire is out. 

Across the U.S. in 2022, 66,255 wildfires burned 7,543,403 acres, which is the 11th most on record in terms of acres burned.

In Colorado, 835 wildfires burned 45,732 acres. 

Year-round, Coloradoans are affected by fires and an important impact is the one that comes after the fire is out when there is the risk of flooding. 

We are unfortunately very familiar with those risks after they created mudslides along Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon from the Grizzly Creek Fire.  

Colorado gets these mudslides because, after a fire, there is a loss of vegetation so the ground becomes very charred and hard, almost like concrete. The ground can’t absorb the rain which then causes a flood and mudslides in these burned areas.

The impact isn’t just on the roads, it also doesn’t take much water to cause damage to your home. Just one inch of water can cause roughly $25,000 worth of damage, so now is the time to get prepared.

“The reality is 40% of the claims for flood insurance recovery that come into the national flood insurance program are from people who are not in a special flood hazard area. So, they are people like me who live in Wheat Ridge, Colorado and I think I’m not by a water source why do I need flood insurance? It’s because I could be part of that 40%,” said Nancy Dragani, region administrator for FEMA Region 8. 

Now is a good time to check your insurance policy because most typical home or renter insurance policies do not cover flood insurance and it takes about 30 days for it to go into effect.