Forecasting the inundation of postfire debris flows

By: , and 



In the semi-arid regions of the western United States, postfire debris flows are typically runoff generated. The U.S. Geological Survey has been studying the mechanisms of postfire debris-flow initiation for multiple decades to generate operational models for forecasting the timing, location, and magnitude of postfire debris flows. Here we discuss challenges and progress for extending operational capabilities to include modeling postfire debris-flow inundation extent. Analysis of volume and impacted area scaling relationships indicated that postfire debris flows do not conform to assumptions of geometric self-similarity. We documented sensitivity of impacted areas to rainfall intensity using a candidate methodology for generating inundation hazard assessments. Our results emphasize the importance of direct measurements of debris-flow volume, inundated area, and high temporal resolution rainfall intensity.

Study Area

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Forecasting the inundation of postfire debris flows
DOI 10.1051/e3sconf/202341504002
Volume 415
Year Published 2023
Language English
Publisher EDP Sciences
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center, Volcano Science Center
Description 04002, 4 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title E3S Web of Conferences
Conference Title 2023 8th International Conference on Debris Flow Hazard Mitigation (DFHM8)
Conference Location Turin, Italy
Conference Date June 26-29, 2023
Country United States
State California
City Montecito
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