Good news and bad news: Rain is on the way

newsroom@idahostatesman.comSeptember 2, 2013 

Idaho desperately needs a good soaking rain to help extinguish the more than a dozen wildfires burning across the state. But not too much rain in too short a period of time in the burned out areas.

Fire and forest officials are concerned about flash flooding in burned areas. The loss of vegetation on hillsides and soil scorched and hardened by fire increase the chance of flash floods or mudslides. Also, with the loss of vegetation and trees, rocks and downed trees are more likely to tumble down steep embankments.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for much of central Idaho through Tuesday.

In Boise, the forecast calls for a 40 percent chance of heavy rain Monday night and a 60 percent chance of heavy rain on Tuesday with a chance of thunderstorms through the rest of the week.

Heavy rain is possible in the vicinity of the Elk Complex, Pony Complex and Little Queens fire beginning Monday tonight.

Fire and forest officials advise travelers on roads in these areas to be alert for a rapid increase in water flows, especially in small creeks or rivers in areas immediately adjacent to the burned mountains, which could lead to a flash flood.

Road culverts also have an increased chance of plugging due to the high flows, and could wash out road surfaces quickly in that case.

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