What are examples of post-fire flood events?

The Las Conchas Fire occurred in New Mexico in 2011 and burned parts of the Santa Fe National Forest, Bandelier National Monument, Santa Clara Pueblo, and Cochiti Pueblo. At the time, it was the largest recorded wildfire in New Mexico. The fire removed significant amounts of vegetation and the soil became water repellant. When an intense rainfall event occurred in the Jemez Mountains in August 2011, the result was large flash floods. Newly implemented flood protection reduced damage in some locations, however there significant debris flows and damage to aquatic ecosystems and infrastructure was observed.


Flash flooding sometimes occurs following wildfires in Southwest watersheds. This photo captures flooding that occurred following the Spring Creek Fire in Colorado. (Photo by John A. Moody)

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