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Wildfire can significantly alter the hydrologic response of a watershed to the extent that even modest rainstorms can produce dangerous flash floods and debris flows. The USGS conducts post-fire debris-flow hazard assessments for select fires in the Western U.S. We use geospatial data related to basin morphometry, burn severity, soil properties, and rainfall characteristics to estimate the probability and volume of debris flows that may occur in response to a design storm.
Many difficult problems in river mechanics may have stemmed from inadequate understanding of the multiplicity and interaction of fluvial processes. Some of the problems may have been solved, but in a very simplified, approximate way. Many efforts have been directed, but without apparent success, to fully account for the causes, occurrences, and mechanisms of catastrophic events, such as flash floods, debris flows, and channel changes resulting from torrential storms, sudden snow or glacier melt, dam break, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes. Such failures may be partially attributed to the deficiency and incompleteness of existing empirical formulas (or models) representing the relationships between various processes...