Thursday, August 25, 2011

Post-fire flooding reports issued for Wallow, Monument, & Horseshoe II fires

The USGS issued three reports on the potential for post-fire floods and debris flows areas burned by the Wallow, Monument, and Horseshoe II wildfires in Arizona.

Along with the reports, the USGS announced that "Working with the U.S. Forest Service and Cochise and Apache Counties, the USGS has installed new flood-warning gages in areas affected by recent flooding. The flood-warning gages will transmit by satellite a warning when the stream level reaches a predetermined height or when the water level changes rapidly."

"The location of the sites should give us 30-40 minutes advance warning if a major increase in runoff occurs," said Apache County Chief Deputy Brannon Eagar. "We’d liked to have more advance notice, but the lay of the land just wouldn’t permit it. In an emergency situation, every minute counts, and we’re grateful to have that advanced notification."

The data collected by the USGS are used by the National Weather Service to issue alerts and identify dramatic runoff changes in a given watershed.

They also posted a video of what is labelled a debris flow in Coronado National Memorial taken on August 8. However, Phil Pearthree at AZGS suggests that instead it is really an ash-laden flood. After viewing it, I agree. Watch and see what you think -

[update 8-27-11: the USGS agreed with our interpretation and relabeled the video but is not currently online]

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