Risk assessment of post-wildfire hydrological response in semiarid basins: the effects of varying rainfall representations in the KINEROS2/AGWA model

Gabriel Sidman, Phillip Guertin, David C. Goodrich, Carl L. Unkrich, I. Shea Burns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Representation of precipitation is one of the most difficult aspects of modelling post-fire runoff and erosion and also one of the most sensitive input parameters to rainfall-runoff models. The impact of post-fire convective rainstorms, especially in semiarid watersheds, depends on the overlap between locations of high-intensity rainfall and areas of high-severity burns. One of the most useful applications of models in post-fire situations is risk assessment to quantify peak flow and identify areas at high risk of flooding and erosion. This study used the KINEROS2/AGWA model to compare several spatial and temporal rainfall representations of post-fire rainfall-runoff events to determine the effect of differing representations on modelled peak flow and determine at-risk locations within a watershed. Post-fire rainfall-runoff events at Zion National Park in Utah and Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico were modelled. Representations considered included both uniform and Soil Conservation Service Type II hyetographs, applying rain over the entire watershed and applying rain only on the burned area, and varying rainfall both temporally and spatially according to radar data. Results showed that rainfall representation greatly affected modelled peak flow, but did not significantly alter the model's predictions for high-risk locations. This has important implications for post-fire assessments before a flood-inducing rainfall event, or for post-storm assessments in areas with low-gauge density or lack of radar data due to mountain beam blockage. Journal compilation

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-278
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Bandelier National Monument
  • design storm
  • peak flow
  • radar
  • rainfall representation
  • Zion National Park

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Ecology

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