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Forecasting the inundation of postfire debris flows

August 18, 2023

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.

Publication Year 2023
Title Forecasting the inundation of postfire debris flows
DOI 10.1051/e3sconf/202341504002
Authors Katherine R. Barnhart, Ryan P Jones, David L. George, Francis K. Rengers, Jason W. Kean
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70247849
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geologic Hazards Science Center; Volcano Science Center