California Mudslides Affecting ManyJanuary 16, 2019
Landslides are the worst effect from the cause of fires that burned down a large amount of the Santa Barbara County in California.
Landslides are the outcome from the fires. All the debris from the fires combined with rain causes it rush down the hills and creates a chaotic mess. The term “landslide” describes a wide variety of processes that result in the downward and outward movement of slope-forming materials including rock, soil, artificial fill, or a combination of these. The materials may move by falling, toppling, sliding, spreading, or flowing.
The type of landslides happening in California are flowing landslides because they are picking up the debris of trees, branches, dirt, and rocks. The soil is also unstable from the fires, so it has changed into a liquid state from the rain. Vegetation creates a stable and solid soil so that when it rains it doesn’t turn into a mudslide.
Slick Surfaces of Mudslides
Any time there are fires in California, the ash and other materials become really slick when rained on to create a debris flow. If the debris is massive and expansive, it becomes like garbage ready to be swept away by rain. Mudslides move slowly down the hill with debris left over by the fires. The term landslide is a blanketed term taking in debris flow and other materials: soil, ash, branches, miscellaneous vegetation.
Mudslides After a Fire
Mudslides are sure to happen when a fire just occurred because the ash creates a slippery surface. When a surface is charred, water is unable to penetrate except to slip across the surface and take any other material along with it. If there are no plants, the soil is not held together, and the loose materials are lying on top of a slippery slope. the steeper the hill, the faster the mudslide.
Speed of a Mudslide Breaks Everything Down the Hill
The speed is what produces a mudslide as well. If you’ve got all that water washing [away] debris, tree branches, boulders, and ash, sooner or later, it’s not just water — it’s now a debris flow, a very fluid landslide that’s a mixture of water and debris. They’re very, very fast moving. The debris flow will take anything in its path.
Can you imagine first going through a fire and then everything you own being washed away by a debris flow? The cruel and inevitable elements of nature have caused problems for many Californians.
Terror for Human Beings: More Than Just Nature
Its the loose material that creates mudslides. Anything unstable will be moving down the hill combined with flooding. It stops when the water flow separates from the debris, and the flow down the hill stops. Californians have suffered through disasters: the record-setting fire season of 2017, waist-high mud flowed through Santa Barbara County at more than 35 miles per hour— killing at least 17 people in January.