Debris flows are steep mountain hazards that may impact infrastructure, human life and environment considerable distance from their source. Runout simulation tools often require site-specific parameters that may be difficult to estimate or impractical to deploy at a regional scale. In contrast, models that do work regionally tend to provide limited data to the user. In this study, a relatively new agent-based simulation program called DebrisFlow Predictor was used to estimate the scour, deposition and volume of debris flows which occurred in a selected area of the Klanawa Watershed in Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
This program employs a group of autonomous subroutines, or agents, that act on a digital elevation model (DEM) using a set of probabilistic rules for scour, deposition, path selection, and spreading behavior. The advantages of this program are that it requires limited input, including DEM and user-defined initiation zones, and only modest computational power.