BOISE -- After a massive landslide killed more than a dozen people in Washington, KTVB looked into the possibility of a similar slide in Idaho.

Experts say a similar event happened in the Gem State in July of 1993. That's when the banks of the Snake River crumbled in the town of Bliss. It was a landslide almost as big as the one in Washington this past weekend.

Research geologist Virginia Gillerman with the Idaho Geological Survey remembers the scene well, and still has pictures of the damage.

There was no one killed, amazingly, and only one house affected. The slide went by the side of the house, said Gillerman. It did cover up and destroy the road.

She says landslides are common in Idaho because of the rock and elevation throughout the Gem State. The good news, though, is that Idaho's rural areas where slides are more likely, are less populated.

Of course the thing you need for all of them is gravity and topographic relief, said Gillerman.

Gillerman says the areas most prone to slides are locations with granite in central Idaho and spots recently burned by wildfires.

Burned areas lose all the vegetation that holds soil in place, and if we do get intense rainfall, we could have some problems, said Gillerman.

Robert Feeley with The Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security says his agency is watching our land in Idaho closely as well.

Early winter it was looking really dry, and then February came, and it was really wet and that impacts the potential for landslides. So, that's why we are keeping a closer eye on it now, said Feeley.

Feeley says experts are taking steps now to protect against the possible danger.

They measure soil saturation and precipitation, and then they transmit that data to agencies who can keep an eye on that, said Gillerman. Then if it does become problematic, they let the emergency management know so they can take appropriate precautions.

Geologists say they are working with the Idaho Transportation Department to study the state's geology and better map the areas more prone to a slide.

Read or Share this story: