Wildfire alters the hydrologic cycle, with important implications for water supply and hazards including flooding and debris flows. In this study we use a combination of electrical resistivity and stable water isotope analyses to investigate the hydrologic response during storms in three catchments: one unburned and two burned during the 2020 Bobcat Fire in the San Gabriel Mountains, California, USA. Electrical resistivity imaging shows that in the burned catchments, rainfall infiltrated into the weathered bedrock and persisted. Stormflow isotope data indicate that the amount of mixing of surface and subsurface water during storms was similar in all catchments, despite higher streamflow post-fire. Therefore, both surface runoff and infiltration likely increased in tandem. These results suggest that the hydrologic response to storms in post-fire environments is dynamic and involves more surface-subsurface exchange than previously conceptualized, which has important implications for vegetation regrowth and post-fire landslide hazards for years following wildfire.
|Title||Importance of subsurface water for hydrological response during storms in a post-wildfire bedrock landscape|
|Authors||Abra Atwood, Madeline Hille, Marin Clark, Francis K. Rengers, Dimitrios Ntarlagiannis, Kirk Townsend, A. Joshua West|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Nature Geoscience Communications|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Geologic Hazards Science Center|