Watershed conditions change after wildfires. Calculating the runoff response to these changed conditions is critical to the protection of life and property after the fire.
Rain over a burned area can create:
- More and faster runoff than normal, especially from high-intensity storms.
- Large amounts of sediment, which may reduce storage capacity in a reservoir or clog drainages and culverts.
- Debris flows or downed timber, which may obstruct roadways and damage infrastructure.
The PWFC does not offer endorsements in either direction of the tools and models below. This page is intended to be an inventory of common resources, not a validation of any particular application.
Guides and Tools
The Washington Department of Ecology Dam Safety Office has developed some resources to be used as a starting point for qualified consultants to assess hydrology changes after a wildfire:
- Guidance for assessing post-wildfire hydrology
- Spreadsheet for calculating post-wildfire watershed parameters
The Natural Resource Conversation Service has also compiled some comprehensive guidance for performing post-wildfire hydrologic analyses. It includes case studies and examples.