Wildfire is a natural disturbance in forest ecosystems but has the potential to drastically change watershed conditions, leaving them highly vulnerable to post-wildfire hazards. High severity fires can significantly affect soil and landscape interactions, resulting in decreased evaporation and infiltration and increased runoff in the newly exposed soil surfaces. Most post-wildfire research focuses on reactive solutions. However, the time between wildfires and post-wildfire hazards is growing closer in margin. Therefore, assessing post-wildfire risks, pre-fire is helpful when assessing fire severity and is valuable to resource managers for pre-wildfire management, planning, and mitigation. This research is in the Upper Gallinas Watershed in Northern New Mexico. It uses the Hermit’s Peak and Calf Canyon 2022 fire to establish a framework for evaluating combined fire and hydrology risk with a coupled modeling approach by estimating the change of the SCS curve number, which is a value that represents how much runoff or infiltration you will get in a particular area. The outcomes from this research revealed a change in post-fire curve number of 5, 18, and 27 for, low, moderate, and severe burn severity, respectively, and a several hundred percent increase in post-fire peak discharge for the six frequency storms modeled.
soil burn severity, New Mexico, post-wildfire flooding, forest stand characteristics, curve number, Hermit's Peak and Calf Canyon Fire
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Valdez, Raquel L.. "Assessment of Forest Stand Characteristics and Environmental Conditions on Soil Burn Severity and Post-Wildfire Flooding in the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire." (2023). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/ce_etds/304