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Post-Fire Debris Flow Project

Post-Fire Debris Flow Project

example BFE determinationDo wildfires change the frequency and/or intensity of landslides in Oregon? If so, how are Oregon communities affected? DOGAMI has received funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency Cooperating Technical Partners program to research the impact of wildfires on landslides in Oregon.

Wildfires can significantly alter the way water and sediment move through a watershed during and after rainfall events. Even modest rainstorms can produce dangerous flash floods and debris flows in previously burned areas. Channelized debris flows (CDF) are rapidly moving, extremely destructive landslides that can easily travel a mile or more, depending on the terrain. CDFs typically contain boulders and logs transported in a fast-moving soil and water slurry down canyons. In many parts of Oregon, many locations are already prone to CDFs and when wildfires occur in these areas, they can increase their size and/or frequency.

In the months following the 2020 Labor Day wildfires, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Erosion Threat Assessment/Reduction Team (ETARTS) recognized the risk posed by CDFs in Oregon. To learn more about the potential impact of wildfires on CDFs, DOGAMI proposed four Post-Fire Debris Flow (PFDF) projects to the FEMA Cooperating Technical Partners (CTP) program. The four projects were approved and funded. Project work started in January 2022 and will be completed by Fall 2024.

To learn more about debris flows, a dangerous type of fast moving, destructive landslide, click here.

PFDF Kickoff Meeting Presentation

On March 31, 2022, DOGAMI presented information to stakeholders about the newly funded project. View a video of the presentation here.


PFDF Project Team

DOGAMI - Overall project lead with a focus on hazard and risk analysis.

  • Nancy Calhoun
  • Jon Franczyk
  • Bill Burns
  • Alex Lopez

LCOG (Lane Council of Governments) - Holiday Fire risk analysis and awareness

  • Bob Denouden

DLCD (Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development) - All fires, focus on planning and risk mitigation

  • Marian Lahav

For questions about the Post-Fire Debris Flow project, please contact Bill Burns at

Project Areas

The Post-Fire Debris Flow project will study four different areas of Oregon that have recently experienced wildfires.

Eagle Creek Fire (2017)

  • Columbia River Gorge
  • Multnomah and Hood River Counties
example BFE determination

Project Documents

Beachie Creek and Lionshead Fires (2020)

  • North Santiam River
  • Marion and Linn Counties
example BFE determination
Project Documents

Holiday Farm Fire (2020)

  • McKenzie River
  • Lane County
example BFE determination
Project Documents

Archie Creek Fire (2020)

  • North Umpqua River
  • Douglas County
example BFE determination                                                                                                                     
Project Documents
Roadmap to Risk Reduction - Meeting Recordings

example BFE determination

Federal Emergency Management Agency Erosion Threat Assessment/Reduction Team (ETART) Reports


United States Geological Survey (USGS) Emergency Assessment of Post-Fire Debris Flow Hazards

The USGS conducts rapid post-fire debris flow hazard assessments for select fires in the Western United States shortly after they occur. The USGS uses geospatial data related to shape of the basin, burn severity, soil properties, and rainfall characteristics to estimate the probability and volume of debris flows that may occur in response to storm events. However, these assessments are general in nature and not calibrated to the unique combination of geography and weather conditions that exist in western Oregon. The PFDF project will build on the USGS Emergency Assessments by providing more detailed information specific to the conditions in western Oregon. USGS Emergency Assessments for the PFDF study areas are available below.

example BFE determination

Fire Specific Reports