Sunday, March 25, 2012

Southwest Wildfire Hydrology and Hazards Workshop

The 2012 Southwest Wildfire Hydrology and Hazards Workshop is filled and registration is closed. The event is being held at Biosphere2 just north of Tucson, AZ on April 2 - 5, 2012.

AZGS is one of the organizers of the workshop along with USGS, NOAA-NWS, ADWR, USFS, UA, and the USDA. I hope to blog on the reports and results from the workshop after it's over. [Right, Monument fire at night, 2011]

In anticipation of future wildfires, this workshop will serve to bring together researchers from multiple government agencies, academic researchers, and other interested parties to discuss the state of post-wildfire research, to disseminate recent advances in post-fire agency and academic response, and to coordinate response to future wildfires in the Southwest.

In recent years, wildfire has been an increasingly common and increasingly destructive phenomenon in the Southwestern United States. Wildfires can damage ecosystems, cause severe flooding and erosion, and affect humans in a variety of ways. Wildfires occur across private and public lands that are managed by a large number of stakeholders, including a number of government agencies. Because of the negative effects on both natural landscapes and human infrastructure, many researchers respond to wildfires to assess damage, provide hazard warning, attempt to mitigate hazards, and to study the wide-ranging effects of fire.

The workshop themes cover four broad topics:

1. Post-fire Research. What are the latest results from post-fire research, including, but not limited to: hydrological impacts (inc. flooding, debris flows), sedimentation, ecological impacts, water quality impacts, etc.? How can academic researchers better coordinate with government agency researchers? What avenues exist for funding post-fire research?
2. Models. What post-fire hydrological and hazard assessment models are available or in development? How have these been implemented and tested? What models work best and where? How might models be used to prioritize pre-fire treatments to reduce burn severity? How can post-fire assessment models be improved for use by response teams?
3. BAER Process. Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) teams rapidly assess impacts from a wildfire. What is the BAER process and how does it function? What roles might other agencies and researchers play in the BAER process? How might BAER teams assist researchers select study sites and/or implement research projects?
4. Warning Systems. What decision support is required to properly deploy hazard warning systems? What are the roles of researchers, agencies and the BAER team in warning system site selection and deployment? What kinds of warning systems have been deployed? How have they worked and what are the lessons learned?

This workshop is sponsored by the Water Sustainability Program the Institute for the Environment, the UA Renewable Energy Network, and the Biosphere 2 Institute, and hosted by the Biosphere 2 Landscape Evolution Observatory.

[taken from the workshop announcement]

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