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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Evaluation of Post-Wildfire Runoff and Erosion on Semiarid Ecological Sites 1626

Authors
item Paige, G. - UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
item Stone, Jeffry
item Guertin, D. - UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

Submitted to: Biodiversity & Management of the Madrean Archipelago Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 2005
Publication Date: September 1, 2005
Citation: Paige, G.B., Stone, J.J., Guertin, D.P. 2005. Evaluation of post-wildfire runoff and erosion on semiarid ecological sites. Proc. Biodiversity and Management of the Madrean Archipelago II Conf., Connecting Mountain Islands and Desert Seas, May 11-14, Tucson, AZ, 536-538.

Interpretive Summary: The need to evaluate the risks and impacts associated with wildfires is becoming more important as the wildland urban interface expands and more rangelands are being settled. Runoff and erosion rates after wildfires are not well known for semiarid rangelands. Field studies are being conducted to quantify runoff and erosion rates following wildfires in semiarid rangelands. Experiments were conducted on two grassland sites and one oak woodland site in Southern Arizona immediately following wildfires. The experiments used a machine that simulates rainfall to apply a range of rainfall intensities between 50 and 180 mm/h. Infiltration, runoff and erosion rates were measured for each application rate. The runoff and erosion rates were much higher on some of the oak woodland site and show much more variability than the rates from the two grassland sites. The results from this and other studies similar field studies are being used to develop an erosion risk tool to estimate erosion after wildfires.

Technical Abstract: Field studies are being conducted to quantify runoff and erosion rates following wildfires in semiarid rangelands. Rainfall simulator experiments were conducted on two grassland sites and one oak woodland site in Southern Arizona immediately following wildfires in 2002 and 2003. The experiments applied a range of rainfall intensities between 50 and 180 mm/h. Infiltration, runoff and erosion rates were measured for each application rate. The post wildfire runoff and erosion responses are much higher on the oak woodland site and show much more variability than the responses from the two grassland sites. The results from this and other field studies will be used to determine model input parameters for a post wildfire erosion risk tool.

Last Modified: 7/24/2014
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