Wildfire causes severe physical changes to watersheds, which then leads to geomorphic changes in the burned watersheds. In New Mexico and the southwestern U.S., flooding is a common response after a wildfire, due to higher water runoff from the hillslopes and sediment erosion rates. These flood events change the erosion and deposition characteristics of a stream, which can result in the deposition of a large amount of sediment near the communities living downstream. The objective of this research was to analyze and compare post-fire geomorphic stream response caused by six different wildfires in New Mexico with the goal to create a conceptual channel evolution model for 1st, and 3rd order streams post-wildfire in semi-arid environments. This was accomplished through a combination of fieldwork and historical spatial analysis of the active channel width pre and post wildfire conditions. This study compared the post-fire geomorphic responses between 1st and 3rd order streams for six different wildfires that burned in New Mexico once and the results were used to generate a conceptual model of these changes. The research results suggest a large variety in individual wildfire-caused geomorphic changes in active channel width, after wildfires. However, a trend of increasing active channel width was observed in 9 out of 12 streams within the first four years after a wildfire. Also, four years after the fire, the active channel width percent increase of all 1st order streams was larger than the increase of all 3rd order streams.
Geomorphology, Wildfires, Channel evolution
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First Committee Member (Chair)
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Praznik, Aljaz. "POST-WILDFIRE GEOMORPHIC STREAM RESPONSE IN SIX NEW MEXICAN WATERSHEDS." (2020). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/ce_etds/249