2009 Station Fire, Dunsmore Canyon, Glendale, California

Science Center Objects

Recent Conditions

Instruments are used to monitor and detect changes in local conditions, including:

Most of the measurements are taken at 1-minute intervals and data are transmitted hourly and displayed on graphs.

Project Background

Rainfall on steep burned basins can transform into potentially dangerous flash floods and debris flows. In 2009, the Station Fire burned 160,000 acres in the San Gabriel Mountains. Vegetation has started to return, but it can take many years for a basin to fully recover from the effects of fire.

The USGS has installed instruments in Dunsmore Canyon located in Deukmejian Wilderness Park, Glendale, CA. Data collection at this site supports research on the hydrologic factors that control debris-flow initiation in burned areas. The USGS conducted debris-flow monitoring at this site after the fire from 2009 to 2011. The USGS reestablished the monitoring site in the fall of 2015 to understand the effects of vegetation recovery on debris-flow susceptibility.


Post fire in the San Gabriel Mountains in Dunsmore Canyon

Burned hillslopes in Dunsmore Canyon after the 2009 Station Fire, CA. (Public domain.)

Regrowth of Vegetation in Dunsmore Canyon

Vegetation recovery in Dunsmore Canyon six years after the 2009 Station Fire, CA (Public domain.)



Hill side of Dunsmore Canyon containing all of the burnt vegetation

Burned hillslopes in Dunsmore Canyon after the 2009 Station Fire, CA.

(Public domain.)


A USGS employee testing out a monitoring device in a valley that is covered in vegetation growth after the station fire

Debris-flow monitoring station along a channel in Dunsmore Canyon, CA. A laser distance meter is suspended over the channel and used to measure the timing and depth of flow as it passes the station.

(Public domain.)

A USGS employee setting up a solar panel on a hillside of Dunsmore Canyon where vegetation has begun to regrow

Hillslope monitoring site in Dunsmore Canyon designed to measure hydrologic recovery after the 2009 Station Fire, CA.

(Public domain.)