Near real-Time monitoring of post-fire erosion after storm events: A case study in Warrumbungle National Park, Australia

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Journal Article
International Journal of Wildland Fire, 2018, 27 (6), pp. 413 - 424
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© IAWF. Wildfires in national parks can lead to severe damage to property and infrastructure, and adverse impacts on the environment. This is especially pronounced if wildfires are followed by intense storms, such as the fire in Warrumbungle National Park in New South Wales, Australia, in early 2013. The aims of this study were to develop and validate a methodology to predict erosion risk at near real-Time after storm events, and to provide timely information for monitoring of the extent, magnitude and impact of hillslope erosion to assist park management. We integrated weather radar-based estimates of rainfall erosivity with the revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE) and remote sensing to predict soil loss from individual storm events after the fire. Other RUSLE factors were estimated from high resolution digital elevation models (LS factor), satellite data (C factor) and recent digital soil maps (K factor). The accuracy was assessed against field measurements at twelve soil plots across the Park and regular field survey during the 5-year period after the fire (2013-17). Automated scripts in a geographical information system have been developed to process large quantity spatial data and produce time-series erosion risk maps which show spatial and temporal changes in hillslope erosion and groundcover across the Park at near real time.
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