Donna Balancia story Landslides a result of wildfires damage and rain
Paul Goodloe of Weather Channel in Camarillo – Photo courtesy of Weather Channel


In the last few days, several regions in the Golden State were impacted by landslides, including Glendora, a community East of Los Angeles, and Camarillo in Ventura County.

Previously, the two areas suffered extensive wildfire damage — Glendora suffered wildfire devastation in the Colby fire last January, and Camarillo was hit by massive wildfire damage in May of 2013.

It is the hillside areas that have endured wildfires that are most likely to subsequently experience landslides and mudslides, according to the California Department of Public Health.

In the aftermath of a hillside wildfire, where trees and brush are burned and destroyed, few roots remain to hold soil in place. The heat and the flames create a slippery top layer to the earth that remains — that layer creates a path for rapidly rushing water to race downhill.

When rain falls at a rate of one inch or more per hour, as it has in the last few days in California, the force is strong enough to carry large rocks and boulders to the ground below, crushing anything in its path.