Main content area

Estimation of SCS Curve Number variation following forest fires

Soulis, Konstantinos X.
Hydrological sciences journal 2018 v.63 no.9 pp. 1332-1346
data collection, forest fires, runoff, soil conservation, spatial variation, streams, watersheds, Greece
The Soil Conservation Service Curve Number (CN) method is routinely used to estimate the effects of forest fires on hydrological response. However, despite recent efforts, CN values are still not well known for burned conditions. A major forest fire in Attica, Greece, which affected the Lykorrema stream experimental watershed, provided an opportunity for the estimation of post-fire CN variation using detailed pre-fire and post-fire rainfall–runoff datasets. The CN values for both periods were estimated and compared using a wide range of available methods. Methods considering the spatial variability of soil-cover complexes were also used to investigate the effect of spatial heterogeneity. The post-fire watershed response changed from complacent to standard. Direct runoff depths and peak flows increased by a factor of more than 7.7 and 11.8, respectively. On average, the estimated post-fire CN values for the studied soil-cover complexes increased by about 25 units. This study may assist the improvement of existing post-fire hydrological assessment tools.