Mudslide and Mudflow Protection

Why use TrapBag® for Mudslide and Mudflow Protection?

Mudslides, also know as debris flows, are a serious problem for people living in areas with large hills and mountains and have caused billions of dollars in damages and taken thousands of lives across the world. A mudslide, or debris flow, is a type of fast moving landslide that usually starts on a steep hillside as a shallow landslide that liquefies and accelerates to speeds that are typically around 10 miles per hour, but can exceed 35 miles per hour. Mudslides are very common after wildfires due to slopes losing their natural stability. A well positioned TrapBag® barrier system will redirect these mountain floods and mudslides to avoid unnecessary damage to property and residents that would otherwise be in danger. 

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TrapBags diverting a mudflow

What is a mudslide?

 A mudslide, or debris flow, is a type of fast moving landslide that usually starts on a steep hillside as a shallow landslide that liquefies and accelerates to speeds that are typically around 10 miles per hour, but can exceed 35 miles per hour. Mudslides are very common after wildfires due to slopes losing their natural stability. 

What is mudflow?

Mudflow, conversely, is much more liquid than a mudslide and can be compared to a river. Mudflow can have other debris in it like rocks and sticks. Mudflow is caused by heavy precipitation like rain or snowmelt.

How do you protect your home or building from mudslides?

Vegetation is a great defense against mudslides. Plant and tree roots help anchor soil and rocks in place so that they don’t begin to flow. Make sure to keep your plants well cared-for. Dry trees and plants can easily uproot and cause damage during a mudslide.

Retaining walls can also prevent mudslides and mudslide damage. Beware, if your retaining wall is not capable of withstanding excessive forces, it could be carried by a mudslide and cause more damage. Consult a professional to make sure your retaining wall will help, not harm.

Channels, diversion barriers, and deflection walls can help redirect the flow away from property. These must be installed carefully so that they don’t redirect the flow towards nearby property and structures.

Sandbags are a good temporary solution as they can slow the momentum of smaller mudslides. 

Properly positioned TrapBags® can redirect debris flows and protect infrastructure. By installing TrapBags® around your home you create a barrier that will redirect the mudflow away from or around your home, preventing the damage that would be caused otherwise. Having TrapBags® in place will save properties and lives.

How do you prepare for a mudslide?

To prepare for a mudslide or mudflow, you should make sure you have a plan for your family. Steps you can take include:

  • Listen to evacuation instructions
  • Contact emergency services
  • Make sure to always follow land-use procedures including avoiding building near slopes, cliffs, drainage ways, or in areas of natural erosion
  • Have a geotechnical assessment done on your property
  • Follow professional and local recommendations for protecting your property including the use of sandbags, retaining walls, etc.
  • Create diversion barriers to help redirect the flow while being extremely careful not to redirect flow towards a neighbouring property
  • Check with your insurance agent to clarify your coverage

Ready.gov recommends heeding the following warning signs of a mudslide:

“Watch for debris flows and other fast moving landslides that pose threats to life:

  • If you are near a wildfire burn area, sign up for emergency alerts and pay attention to weather forecasts for the burn area. The weather in the burn area could be very different from where you are.
  • Listen and watch for rushing water, mud, unusual sounds.
  • Unusual sounds, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together, might indicate moving debris.
  • A faint rumbling sound that increases in volume is noticeable as the landslide nears.
  • Fences, retaining walls, utility poles, k-rails, boulders, or trees move.
  • Huge boulders in the landscape can be signs of past debris flows.

Watch for slow-moving landslides that pose threats to property:

  • Changes occur in your landscape such as patterns of storm-water drainage on slopes (especially the places where runoff water converges) land movement, small slides, flows, or progressively leaning trees.
  • Doors or windows stick or jam for the first time.
  • New cracks appear in plaster, tile, brick, or foundations.
  • Outside walls, walks, or stairs begin pulling away from the building.
  • Slowly developing, widening cracks appear on the ground or on paved areas such as streets or driveways.
  • Underground utility lines break.
  • Bulging ground appears at the base of a slope.
  • Water breaks through the ground surface in new locations.
  • Fences, retaining walls, utility poles, or trees tilt or move.
  • The ground slopes downward in one direction and may begin shifting in that direction under your feet.”

What are the effects of a mudslide?

Mudslides are powerful natural events which can carry heavy debris at more than 20 mph towards homes and buildings. They can cause severe damage to land, crops, livestock, structures, and human life.

Did you know that mudslides claim 25-50 lives every year in the US? Powerful mudslides can destroy highways, bridges, homes, and more. Mudslides are also expensive to recover from. 

 

What are mudslides caused by?

According to ready.gov, mudslides “occur in all U.S. states and territories and can be caused by many factors including earthquakes, storms, volcanic eruptions, fire and human modification of land.”

Mudslides can happen suddenly and cause loss of life, property, and major damage. When there is heavy precipitation, runoff, or melting snow, rock and earth become saturated and begin to flow. The earth becomes a “slurry” and flows quickly and out of nowhere. As they pick up speed, they can also pick up objects like cars, trees, large rocks, and more. Wildfires can also lead to mudslides.

How can TrapBags® be used for mudslide protection?

Mudslides, also known as debris flows, are a serious problem for people living in areas with large hills and mountains, have caused billions of dollars in damages, and taken thousands of lives across the world. 

A well positioned TrapBag® barrier system will redirect these mountain floods and mudslides to avoid unnecessary damage to property and residents that would otherwise be in danger. 

TrapBags® can be used for mudslide protection by using them to stabilize the unstable slope, or in many situations you may use the barriers to redirect a mudslide (mudflow) to change its path and prevent it from destroying properties.

You can't always predict,
but you can always be prepared.

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