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Depositional characteristics of post-fire flooding following the Schultz Fire, San Francisco Peaks, Arizona


Koestner, Karen A.; Carroll, Mike D.; Neary, Daniel G.; Koestner, Peter E.; Youberg, Ann. 2011. Depositional characteristics of post-fire flooding following the Schultz Fire, San Francisco Peaks, Arizona. In: Goncalves, Antonio Bento; Vieira, Antonio A. B., eds. Proceedings of the 3rd International Meeting of Fire Effects on Soil Properties; 15-19 March 2011; University of Minho, Guimaraes, Portugal. Guimaraes, Portugal: Universidade do Minho, NIGP e CEGOT. p. 90-93.

During the summer of 2010 the northern Arizona mountain town of Flagstaff experienced three fires all blazing the same week in late-June, the height of the fire season for this region. By July 1st, all three were extinguished, but that was only the first phase of disturbance. The largest and most detrimental of these fires was the Schultz Fire. From June 20th to July 30th 2010, the Schultz Fire burned 6,100 ha on the eastern slopes of the San Francisco Peaks, a dormant Middle Pliocene to Holocene aged stratovolcano (Figure 1). This was a wind driven fire, consuming approximately 60% of the total burn area in the first day. Ponderosa pine and mixed conifer forest on steep to moderate slopes of the mountain front and upper piedmont zone of 11 watersheds were impacted. The US Forest Service Remote Sensing Application Center (RSAC) estimated the burn severity of the Schultz Fire using Burned Area Reflectance Classification (BARC). The BARC process combines Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR) data derived from Landsat satellite imagery with National Land Cover Database vegetation layers to accurately estimate burn severity across different vegetation types within the burn (Hudak et al. 2004). 70% of the Schultz Fire was classified as high to moderate severity, while 25% was classified as low severity, and another 8% was unburned. The high severity burned areas are concentrated on the steep mountain face with slopes greater than 30% and in places exceeding 100% (USDA Forest Service 2010).

Keywords: wildfire, erosion, sediment distribution, alluvial fan, infiltration


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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Depositional characteristics of post-fire flooding following the Schultz Fire, San Francisco Peaks, Arizona
Electronic Publish Date: September 14, 2012
Last Update:
September 14, 2012

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