Erosion danger

Map created by Robert Szucs via
Map depicting California’s natural drainage system, created by Robert Szucs via

When fires rage in California’s mountains, the system that stores and cleans water, feeds streams and rivers, supports fish and other wildlife and literally holds the hillsides together burns up.

Forests are watersheds, a critical component of California’s water supply.

  • Trees hold water in their limbs, roots and soil and draw it into underground aquifers, a source of drinking water.
  • Meadows on lower slopes filter and clean water.
  • Tree loss after fires fosters soil erosion; the runoff clogs waterways.
  • Unstable hills can threaten public safety with landslides and mudslides.