Landslides happen when masses of rock, earth, or debris move down a slope. This movement can be gradual or it can happen very quickly. Landslides can be caused by a large variety of factors including earthquakes, severe weather, fire, and human activity. Landslides can be very damaging to property and pose significant threats to life-safety.

See a landslide vulnerability map(PDF, 16MB) for the City of Kirkland.

Prepare Now

  • Avoid building near steep slopes, near drainage ways, or along natural erosion valleys. Chapter 85 of the City's Zoning Code lays guidelines for geologically hazardous areas.
  • Get a professional ground assessment of your property if you are concerned about landslide risk.
  • Plant ground cover on slopes and build retaining walls to help prevent land movement.
  • Speak to your insurance agent about your coverage. Some debris flows may be covered as part of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Recognize Landslide Warning Signs

If you notice these signs, a landslide may be imminent. Leave the area immediately and dial 9-1-1.

  • Changes occur in your yard or landscape, including changing patterns of storm-water drainage on slopes (especially places where runoff 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.
  • Widening cracks appear on the ground or in paved areas.
  • Underground utility lines break.
  • Bulges appear on sloped ground.
  • Water breaks through the ground surface in a new or unexpected location.
  • Fences, retaining walls, utility poles, or trees tilt or move.
  • You hear a faint rumbling sound or unusual sounds like trees cracking or boulders knocking together that increases in volume or intensity.
  • The ground begins to slope or move.
  • Collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks, and other indicators of possible debris flow are seen.

Survive During

  • Listen for unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, like rumbling sounds, trees cracking, or boulders knocking together.
  • Stay alert and awake during severe storms. Many deaths and injuries from landslides occur while people are asleep. Do not spend the night in a location you suspect may be at risk due to landslide.
  • If you notice any of the landslide warning signs, leave the area immediately and call 9-1-1.
  • If you are caught in a landslide, curl into a tight ball and protect your head.

Stay Safe After

  • Stay away from landslide areas. There could be additional movement or dangerous debris.
  • Watch for flooding, which might occur after a landslide.
  • Look for and report broken utility lines and damaged roadways.
  • Do not enter damaged houses without an official safety inspection.
  • Replant damaged ground as soon as possible. Erosion caused by loss of ground cover can lead to increased landslide risk.
  • Seek advice from a geotechnician if a landslide has occurred on your property.


Kirkland Landslide Susceptibility Map(PDF, 16MB)This map shows areas susceptible to deep and/or shallow-seated landslides within City limits. It is intended to be used with Chapter 85 of the City's Zoning Code.

Kirkland Zoning Code - Geologically Hazardous Areas
This chapter of the Kirkland Zoning Code establishes special regulations that apply to development on property containing geologically hazardous areas.

Mapped Landslides in King County
Interactive map showing mapped and historic landslides in King County.

United States Geological Survey Landslide Program
Geologic information about landslides.

WA Department of Natural Resources Landslide Information
Mapped landslides in Washington State, preparedness information, and geological information.

Recent Landslides
This Department of Natural Resources map shows recent reported landslides in Washington.

Know Your Hazards