Post-Fire Watershed Recovery
The post-fire landscape is especially susceptible to stormwater runoff-related hazards such as landslides, debris flow, flooding, and rockfall. Fire can damage vegetation and root systems that provide stability within the soil. Fire damage may also create hydrophobic soils, which can concentrate runoff into slopes that may already be prone to failure. These types of post-fire hazards can lead to sediment and pollutant transport into creeks, streams, and reservoirs. For more information on stormwater runoff, watch The Adventures of Junior Raindrop.
Napa County’s watersheds have been severely impacted by recent wildfires. In 2020, wildfires have burned large swaths of the watersheds feeding Napa River, Lake Berryessa, Hennessey Reservoir, Rector Reservoir, Milliken Reservoir, Lake Curry, Kimball Reservoir, and the Friesen Lakes.
Property owner who are concerned or have questions regarding potential hazards resulting from the fires (i.e. flooding, debris flows, landslides, and erosion) may call the Watershed Hazards hotline. The hotline is intended to be a location where Napa County staff can provide property owners with available technical resources for assessing hazards, mitigating hazards, managing your lands after the fire and provide locations and vendors for erosion and sediment control supplies.
WATERSHED HAZARDS HOTLINE: (707) 253-4417
Residents are concerned about the effects of the recent fires on our watersheds, the County shares that concern and is taking the following actions:
- Working closely with the Resource Conservation District (RCD), Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), and CalFire to evaluate all affected watersheds and identify areas where the fire burned most intensely so that they can be targeted to minimize erosion.
- Coordinating with the surrounding impacted cities and counties to minimize potential impacts of debris and erosion on local drinking water supplies.
- Working directly with soil conservationists at the RCD and NRCS to provide technical assistance for landowners to assess potential erosion sites and prepare their property to prevent problems in the winter.
- Improving public safety by patrolling and preparing County roads for the upcoming rains. This includes removing dead and dangerous trees, clearing drainage areas, clearing debris along roadways, replacing road signs, replacing guard rails, and replacing retaining walls damaged in the fires.
The Watershed benefits everyone and we all share the responsibility of taking steps to ensure its continued health, so that it has time to naturally recover from the wildfires. Napa County is here to help landowners in this important effort.
While it is property owner’s responsibility to control stormwater runoff from their property, Napa County is providing resources to help prepare for this upcoming rainy season. Property owners and contractors on burned lots and rebuild sites must take action to prevent pollutants, including sediment, from entering storm drains, creeks, rivers, and wetlands.
Property Owner Contact Information Form(information is confidential and will only be used for fire recovery communication purposes)
Click the following headlines for more information and resources:
Following selected wildfires, California State Watershed Emergency Recovery Teams (WERTs) are deployed to conduct post-fire assessments. WERTs identify burn intensity and types and locations of threats to life-safety and property (i.e., collectively known as “Values-at-risk" or VARs) from debris flows, flooding, rockfall, and surface erosion that are elevated due to wildfire.
The post-fire landscape is especially susceptible to stormwater runoff-related hazards such as landslides, debris flow, flooding, and rockfall. Fire destroys vegetation and root systems that provide stability to the soil. Fire damage may also create hydrophobic soils, which could concentrate runoff into slopes that may already be prone to failure. This page will provide more information about these and other potential hazards.
Property owners may take steps to prevent the transport of pollutants from fire areas and stabilize property from erosion and sedimentation provided the control measures installed DO NOT disturb burned debris and ash from structures and delay the response of the hazardous material and debris/ash cleanup and removal process. Please remember that there are health hazards associated with disturbing debris and ash. Follow all public health guidelines that have been issued.
As property owners and municipalities are responding to the impacts of wildfire, funding opportunities are available through State and Federal agencies. Review these programs to see if they meet your residential or agricultural needs for fire-recovery and property protection.
Agency Contacts & Roles
Planning, Building, and Environmental Services (PBES)
Napa County Planning, Building, and Environmental Services is working to identify damaged structures, facilitate the Phase I and Phase II cleanup processes, protect the municipal watersheds and work with property owners to clean-up and winterize their sites. If you need help with cleaning up your property, rebuilding, or are concerned about a hazard on your property, please contact PBES. For more information on recovering and rebuilding after a fire, visit the PBES Road to Rebuilding page.
Napa County Public Works is patrolling and preparing County roads for the upcoming rains. This includes removing dead and dangerous trees, clearing drainage areas, clearing debris along roadways, replacing road signs, replacing guard rails, culverts, retaining walls and other infrastructure damaged in the fires. For more information, including up-to-date road closures, visit the Public Works Roads page.
Flood Control District
Napa County Flood Control undertakes preventative measures throughout the County to reduce the risk of flood damage to property and loss of life. This includes regular maintenance of stream channels in urban reaches of the County to maintain flow conveyance as well as the monitoring and operation of the Napa River Flood Protection Project during forecast high water events. If you have concerns or problems with flows in a channel (stream, creek or river), please contact the Napa County Flood Control District.
Napa Resource Conservation District (RCD) and United States Department of Agriculture National Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS)
RCD is partnering with USDA Farm Service Agency and the NRCS to offer on-site assistance to agricultural operations and rural landowners in Napa County. If your farm, ranch, or rural property was burned, RCD can come out and offer technical advice on fire damage to croplands, grazing lands, and forest lands, and help you think through options for any recovery actions that might be needed. RCD can also link you to USDA disaster programs to help replace farm infrastructure that was lost to fire such as fences, irrigation systems, and livestock water systems. Additionally, if your ranch lost forage to the fire, or if you lost grapevines or trees to the fire, USDA programs can help. RCD can document the conditions and the losses on your farm for USDA program purposes on the site visit. Learn more about RCD, USDA, and NRCS here.
Napa County PBES
1195 Third Street
Napa, CA, 94559
Or find additional contact info
Farm Service Agency
810 Vaca Valley Parkway, Suite 102
Vacaville, CA 95688
Gizela Gover, County Executive Director
(Napa and Solano)
707-448-0106 x 104
Risk Management Agency - Regional Office
430 G Street #4168
Davis, CA 95616
RCD & NRCS
RCD Napa Field Office
1303 Jefferson St, 500B
Napa, CA 94559
Evelyn Denzin, Resource Conservationist
Vacaville Field Office
810 Vaca Valley Parkway, Suite 102
Vacaville, CA 95688
Wendy Rash, District Conservationist
707-448-0106 x 111
Rural Development - State Office
430 G Street #4169
Davis, CA 95616
Or find your local office