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Lessons learned from the local calibration of a debris flow model and importance to a geohazard assessment

June 15, 2022

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By Thad Wasklewicz and Dr. Richard Guthrie

At Geohazards 8, Stantec’s Dr Thad Wasklewicz, Dr Rick Guthrie, Paul Eickenberg, and Benjamin Kramka discuss post-wildfire debris flows

Post-wildfire debris flows are a common hazard in many locales throughout the world. There is a demand for predicting the runout, inundation, and probability of occurrence to educate property owners, inform mitigation, and local planning in the wildland urban interface. Here, we calibrate our model to debris flow that occurred outside of a recent project area.

The model can accurately predict the runout, including an avulsion that took place on the alluvial fan and the spatial extent of other surges that extended across much of the alluvial fan. The model was also able to predict the flow depths that could be used to account for the loss of homes at the debris flow site. Not only is modeling and our approach a critical tool in geohazard assessments after a wildfire, but it could also be used as a more proactive tool for planning and mitigation for debris flows in current and future development that would make our communities more resilient.

  • Thad Wasklewicz

    Thad is a principal and team leader for Stantec’s geohazard and geomorphology services. He applies high-resolution topography and 2D modeling to manage environmental hazards, and he’s an accomplished technical author in geomatics.

    Contact Thad
  • Dr. Richard Guthrie

    Richard brings over 25 years of experience in geotechnical analysis and expert advice, gaining some impressive industry recognition along the way.

    Contact Dr. Richard
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