New maps show landslide hazards near Eagle Creek Fire burn area

DOGAMI released new maps showing the risk of landslides in the Eagle Creek Fire burn area. Image from DOGAMI map 

CASCADE LOCKS, Ore. – New maps are giving the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries a better look at landslide hazards in the Columbia River Gorge.

The new landslide inventory maps show eastern Multnomah County, including the Eagle Creek Fire burn area.

RELATED | Watch for landslides in recently burned areas of Oregon

DOGAMI engineering geologist Bill Burns said if the land has slid in the past, it’s more likely to slide again. The soil in burn areas is also more likely to slide.

“With vegetation removed, rain can reach soil more quickly, and loss of root strength also means less stable soil,” DOGAMI said in a press release.

The new maps show 286 previous landslides that could be dangerous.

“With Oregon's rainiest months still ahead, it's extremely important for people to be more aware than ever of landslide hazards in this area,” Burns said.

DOGAMI said the Columbia River Gorge is one of Oregon’s most landslide-prone areas.

"We can't predict when and where the next landslide events will occur," Burns said. "But by improving information about existing landslide locations, we better understand what areas might be hazardous during storm events, or where taking action to reduce risk is a good idea."

The new maps are available to view online.

DOGAMI said home and property owners in the area should look at the map to see any landslide warning signs nearby.

DOGAMI offered the following tips for residents in landslide-prone areas:

  • Stay alert. Track the flood watch by radio, TV, weather radio or online. If told to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Listen. Unusual sounds might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together. A trickle of falling mud or debris may precede larger landslides. If you think there is danger of a landslide, leave immediately.
  • Watch the water. If water in a stream or creek suddenly turns muddy or the amount of water flowing suddenly decreases or increases, this is a warning that the flow has been affected upstream. You should immediately leave the area because a debris flow may soon be coming downstream.
  • Travel with extreme caution. Assume highways are not safe. Be alert when driving, especially at night. Embankments along roadsides may fail, sending rock and debris onto the road.
  • Stay cautious after the storm. Cleaning up after landslides can also be hazardous. A small mudslide can actually be part of a larger landslide. Cleanup should not be done until after the storm.
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