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Compound Post‐Fire Flood Hazards Considering Infrastructure Sedimentation


Flood and debris hazards are heightened following wildfires, but are challenging to quantify due to interdependence between fire frequency and severity, runoff and sediment fluxes during storms, and sedimentation that reduces infrastructure capacity. Herein we present a stochastic simulation framework to estimate compound flood and debris hazards from sequences of wildfires and rainstorms and the accumulation of sediment within flood infrastructure. Application of the framework to a hypothetical watershed representative of southern California shows that the present-day compound hazard may be up to 6 times greater than the marginal hazard posed by peak flows in the absence of wildfire, and that future compound hazards could be up to 11 times greater than the marginal hazard based on future increases in wildfire frequency. Numerous sensitivities are investigated, including infrastructure design and maintenance, which are shown to be crucial for moderating future increases in post-fire flood hazards.

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