2009 Jesusita Fire, Santa Barbara, California
Rainfall on steep burned basins can quickly transform into potentially dangerous flash floods and debris flows. In May 2009 the 8,000-acre Jesusita Fire burned many steep canyons above Santa Barbara.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) installed instruments to monitor floods and debris flows in a small 0.2 km2 sub-basin of Mission Canyon in September 2009. These instruments collected data on rainfall, flow stage, bed pore pressure, and soil moisture. During the first winter after the fire, the site recorded several small flood events and one debris flow.
Monitoring was discontinued in May 2010, because rapid spring growth of vegetation had substantially reduced the threat of flash floods and debris flows.
April 2010 (photo by Kevin Schmidt)
Purpose of Monitoring
Data collection at this site is intended to advance the understanding of post-fire runoff, erosion, and debris-flow generation processes and to provide information from the burned area to the National Weather Service for warning decision-making.
Current Monitoring Status
Monitoring performed in Cooperation with
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association
Other USGS real-time monitoring in the Jesusita burn area
For more information
- Post-Wildfire Landslide Hazards
- NOAA/USGS Demonstration Flash-flood and debris-flow early warning system
jwkean [at] usgs [dot] gov
dstaley [at] usgs [dot] gov
U.S. Geological Survey
Geologic Hazards Team
Box 25046, MS 966
Denver, CO 80225