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Wildfire and landscape change

November 1, 2020

Wildfire is a worldwide phenomenon that is expected to increase in extent and severity in the future, due to fuel accumulations, shifting land management practices, and climate change. It immediately affects the landscape by removing vegetation, depositing ash, influencing water-repellent soil formation, and physically weathering boulders and bedrock. These changes typically lead to increased erosion through sheetwash, rilling, dry ravel, and increased mass movement in the form of floods, debris flow, rockfall, and landslides. These process changes bring about landform changes as hillslopes are lowered and stream channels aggrade or incise at increased rates. Furthermore, development of alluvial fans, debris fans, and talus cones are enhanced. The window of disturbance to the landscape caused by wildfire is typically on the order of 3–4 years, with some effects persisting up to 30 years.

Publication Year 2020
Title Wildfire and landscape change
DOI 10.1016/B978-0-12-818234-5.00017-1
Authors Paul M. Santi, Francis K. Rengers
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70217189
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geologic Hazards Science Center