According to legislative findings and geologic investigations, landslides in Western North Carolina are serious and determinable threats to lives and property. In February 2005 the state passed the Hurricane Recovery Act. The General Assembly found:
Hurricanes Frances and Ivan wrought havoc upon Western North Carolina impacting the region on a scale not experienced before in that area of the State. The President issued two federal disaster declarations for the Western Region of the State. During Hurricane Ivan, the community of Peeks Creek was devastated by a debris flow triggered by heavy rains. The debris flow traveled speeds as great as 33 miles per hour for two and a quarter miles from the top of Fishhawk mountain. Five persons were killed and 15 homes destroyed by the flow that was estimated to be several hundred feet wide and up to 40 feet high. Other communities that were particularly hard hit by landslides include the Starnes Creek area in Buncombe County, the Little Pine area in Madison County, the White Laurel community in Watauga County, and the Bear Rock Estates in Henderson County. Further....people could not know the landslide risks associated with their housing location because such maps are not readily available. The state needs to....prepare landslide mapping for the region so that homes may be built in safe areas.