Emergency assessment of post-fire debris-flow hazards for the 2013 Springs Fire, Ventura County, California

Open-File Report 2014-1001



Wildfire can significantly alter the hydrologic response of a watershed to the extent that even modest rainstorms can produce dangerous flash floods and debris flows. In this report, empirical models are used to predict the probability and magnitude of debris-flow occurrence in response to a 10-year rainstorm for the 2013 Springs fire in Ventura County, California. Overall, the models predict a relatively high probability (60–80 percent) of debris flow for 9 of the 99 drainage basins in the burn area in response to a 10-year recurrence interval design storm. Predictions of debris-flow volume suggest that debris flows may entrain a significant volume of material, with 28 of the 99 basins identified as having potential debris-flow volumes greater than 10,000 cubic meters. These results of the relative combined hazard analysis suggest there is a moderate likelihood of significant debris-flow hazard within and downstream of the burn area for nearby populations, infrastructure, wildlife, and water resources. Given these findings, we recommend that residents, emergency managers, and public works departments pay close attention to weather forecasts and National Weather Service-issued Debris Flow and Flash Flood Outlooks, Watches, and Warnings, and that residents adhere to any evacuation orders.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Emergency assessment of post-fire debris-flow hazards for the 2013 Springs Fire, Ventura County, California
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2014-1001
DOI 10.3133/ofr20141001
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center
Description Report: iv, 10 p.; 3 Plates: 48 x 36 inches
Country United States
State California
County Ventura County
Datum North American Datum of 1983
Projection Universal Transverse Mercator
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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