FEMA Releases Information on Flood Risks After a Wildfire

The agency strongly encourages Oregonians who live in and around areas impacted by the recent wildfires to purchase flood insurance now.

11/17/2020

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently released a Fact Sheet that discusses the increase in flood risks for communities downriver from burned areas. This information may be useful for credit union members who reside in and near these locations.

Wildfires leave the ground charred and unable to absorb water. This may create a flash flooding risk for years to come — even in areas that rarely experienced flooding in the past. Sometimes these flash floods can pick up ash and large debris, turning into mudflows that are highly destructive.

Flooding, Mudflows and Erosion Risk Following Wildfires

  • Intense wildfires dramatically alter the terrain when they burn away vegetation and scorch the earth.
  • Charred land and burned vegetation forms a water-repellant layer that cannot absorb rain, so rainwater bounces off.
  • Areas that lie below or downstream of the burn scars face an increased threat of flooding.
  • Intense rainfall can flood a low-lying area in less than six hours.
  • Flash floods can dislodge boulders, uproot trees and destroy buildings and bridges.
  • Rivers of flowing mud are caused by brush loss plus heavy rains. Rapid snowmelt can also trigger mudflows.
  • Burned land poses a threat of flooding until vegetation grows back, a process that can take five years.

Knowing You Can Recover Brings Peace of Mind

No home is completely safe from potential flooding. When just one inch of water in a home can cost more than $25,000 in damage, flood insurance can be the difference between recovery and financial devastation.

To be eligible to purchase a flood insurance policy, a property owner’s town or county must participate in the NFIP and adopt certain ordinances. Consult your local official to see if your jurisdiction participates.                      

Why Should I Buy NFIP Flood Insurance?

  • The NFIP is an affordable, federally-backed program that provides most of the nation’s flood insurance.
  • NFIP insurance claims are paid promptly whether or not there is a federal disaster declaration.
  • NFIP insurance must be in effect 30 days before you make a claim.
  • NFIP insurance reimburses policyholders for covered losses. Homeowners can buy up to $250,000 in coverage; business owners, $500,000; and renters $100,000 for their personal property.

For more about information on NFIP Flood Insurance, visit www.floodsmart.gov. If you are ready to buy flood insurance, visit www.floodsmart.gov/flood-insurance/buy. To find a flood insurance provider near you, visit www.floodsmart.gov/flood-insurance/providers.

All Oregonians – including those affected by the recent wildfires and straight-line winds – who want to learn more about flood risks, how to build safer and stronger, or to inquire as to your flood risk following a fire near you, can contact FEMA Mitigation Specialists via email at [email protected].

This is a free service, and a FEMA Hazard Mitigation specialist will respond to your inquiries.

Question of the Week

Q. Can a credit union break a Certificate of Deposit/Share Certificate due to an IRS levy?

A. Yes, a credit union can break the certificate to pay the levy, it must hold the funds for 21 days after receiving the levy before releasing the funds to the IRS. Any excess funds minus the early withdrawal penalty and levy amount would be retained in the member’s savings account. According to CUNA’s compliance team, a levy attaches to all funds in the account at the time of the levy and up to the amount of the levy, and it attaches to all the member’s deposits including shares, joint accounts, and certificates of deposits/share certificates.

There is no regulatory exception given to the member if the funds are withdrawn due to a levy or if the member withdrew the funds himself. The credit union can make a business decision to waive the fee.

Related Links

IRS Levy Information

Legal Briefs

Federal Housing Finance Agency

Temporary Policy Allowing Purchase of Qualified Loans in Forbearance Extended
The FHFA approved an extension of the current temporary policy that allows for the purchase of certain single-family mortgages in forbearance that meet specific eligibility criteria. The policy is extended for loans originated through Dec. 31.

FHFA Further Extends COVID-Related Loan Flexibilities
The FHFA announced it will extend several loan origination flexibilities until Dec. 31.

Office of Foreign Assets Control

OFAC has updated the SDN list as of Nov. 20. The last update prior to this was Nov. 6.

Questions? Contact the Compliance Hotline: 1.800.546.4465; [email protected].