Journal article

Modeling the effects of surface storage, macropore flow and water repellency on infiltration after wildfire

Petter Nyman, Gary J Sheridan, Hugh G Smith, Patrick NJ Lane

Journal of Hydrology | ELSEVIER | Published : 2014


Wildfires can reduce infiltration capacity of hillslopes by causing (i) extreme soil drying, (ii) increased water repellency and (iii) reduced soil structure. High severity wildfire often results in a non-repellent layer of loose ash and burned soil overlying a water repellent soil matrix. In these conditions the hydraulic parameters vary across discrete layers in the soil profile, making the infiltration process difficult to measure and model. The difficulty is often exacerbated by the discrepancy between actual infiltration processes and the assumptions that underlie commonly used infiltration models, most of which stem from controlled laboratory experiments or agricultural environments, w..

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Funding Acknowledgements

Field work was carried out with assistance from Philip Noske and Chris Sherwin at the University of Melbourne. Randy McKinley (US Geological Survey) kindly provided calculations of the change in normalized burn ratio (dNBR) for areas in Victoria that were burned by the 2009 wildfires. Research funding was provided by Melbourne Water and the eWater Cooperative Research Centre. The authors are grateful for comments and suggestions from two anonymous reviewers.