Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

PFHydro: A new watershed-scale model for post-fire runoff simulation

October 11, 2019

Runoff increases after wildfires that burn vegetation and create a condition of soil-water repellence (SWR). A new post-fire watershed hydrological model, PFHydro, was created to explicitly simulate vegetation interception and SWR effects for four burn severity categories: high, medium, low severity and unburned. The model was applied to simulate post-fire runoff from the Upper Cache Creek Watershed in California, USA. Nash–Sutcliffe modeling efficiency (NSE) was used to assess model performance. The NSE was 0.80 and 0.88 for pre-fire water years (WY) 2000 and 2015, respectively. NSE was 0.88 and 0.93 for WYs 2016 (first year post-fire) and 2017 respectively. The simulated percentage of surface runoff in total runoff of WY 2016 was about six times that of pre-fire WY 2000 and three times that of WY 2015. The modeling results suggest that SWR is an important factor for post-fire runoff generation. The model was successful at simulating SWR behavior.

    Publication Year 2020
    Title PFHydro: A new watershed-scale model for post-fire runoff simulation
    DOI 10.1016/j.envsoft.2019.104555
    Authors Jun Wang, Michelle A. Stern, Vanessa M. King, Charles N. Alpers, Nigel W. T. Quinn, Alan L. Flint, Lorraine E. Flint
    Publication Type Article
    Publication Subtype Journal Article
    Series Title Environmental Modelling and Software
    Index ID 70223156
    Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
    USGS Organization California Water Science Center