Civil Engineering ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 9-7-2023


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

Document Type




Degree Name

Civil Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Civil Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Mark Stone

Second Committee Member

James Biggs

Third Committee Member

John Stormont