'It's scary, it's really scary'; Communities damaged by Bolt Creek Fire now concerned with snow, flooding

With a winter weather advisory announced Tuesday, residents from Baring through Skykomish are concerned about snow and potential flash flooding in areas burned by the Bolt Creek Fire

A flash flood watch just expired in the same area Tuesday afternoon.

"Last night was an inch and a half of rain in 30 minutes," said Katie Sorlien of Grotto. "I was hearing debris and rocks and trees fall."

Sorlien says she endured a terrifying thunderstorm in Grotto overnight that shook her home and brought trees and rocks crashing down around Klinger Ridge and Grotto Mountain.

"Hearing the trees come down, the rocks come down... one tree falls and a whole bunch more stuff falls down with it," recalled Sorlien.

She's very worried about the rain and snowfall this impacting the weakened soils, bringing rock slides or debris slides off the mountain.

"Everything is compromised. It’s not like there is a healthy grove of trees that is going to stop a debris flow," she said.

Her home sits close to a set of power lines where fire crews previously worked to stop the Bolt Creek Fire from burning through the community.

RELATED: Communities in burn areas at a 'high risk' for slides, flooding with recent rainfall

"It’s scary, it’s really scary," said Sorlien.

She showed FOX 13 News the blackened soot and charred debris that covered the ground.

"It was ferns and underbrush and Oregon Grape," she said, pointing to a smaller, unburned patch of ferns and greenery near a well. "This is what it would normally look like-ferns and green all year long."

"With the rain and the snow, it’s a huge concern about the debris coming down, and there is basically nothing to stop it," she said.

The National Weather Service has been monitoring the situation, along with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

"Residents should have an emergency evacuation plan in response to a weather service alert," said Kate Mickelson with DNR.

Of particular concern are drainage areas that flow into the Skykomish and Beckler Rivers.

"A lot of the drainages we were concerned about don’t have names, but they all flow into the main stem of the river," said Mickelson.

"Depending on what slides down in the storm and the snow, and what comes down with it, it might wipe out quite a bit of it," Sorlien said.

She showed us smaller areas of erosion near the community of Grotto with clumps of debris already flowing downhill.


Weekend rain brings needed relief to exhausted firefighters

Wildfires that have plagued western Washington aren’t out, but after a round of rain this weekend the end of this fire season is coming into view.

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"[It] took the path of least resistance, basically, and made a new path," Katie said, showing us some areas where ash, dirt, rocks and pine needles had washed down a slope. "That’s what they are telling us. It will probably will happen on a bigger scale," she said.

She plans to attend a King County storm preparedness meeting at the fire station in Baring Tuesday.

"The thunder and the lightning last night was right over us, and now I guess we are in a winter storm advisory until tomorrow night due to the amount of snow that’s going to fall above 4,000 feet," she said.

That meeting at the fire station in Baring runs from 5–7 p.m. Tuesday evening.