Event Title

Fire Disturbance Effects on Snow-Water Resources

Presenter Information

Jordan Maxwell

Location

USU Eccles Conference Center

Event Website

http://www.restoringthewest.org/

Abstract

Snowpack constitutes a large percentage of available water resources within the rocky intermountain regions of the west. It has been well established in the literature that dense conifer vegetation can reduce total snow depth and snow-water equivalence (SWE) by at least 60%. Forest fires at high elevation have the potential of defoliating large swaths of land, thus reducing interception and sublimation of snow on vegetation, and potentially increasing total water yields. In the Twitchell Canyon fire in the Tushar mountains near Beaver, Utah, sites were selected across a gradient of fire severity with sites placed in intact, mid-mortality, highmortality, and open meadow sites. Snow depth and SWE were taken with a U.S. Federal snow sampler at peak snow pack at each site. A significant correlation was found between fire severity and SWE in each paired site. These findings help to confirm previous studies showing an increase of snow-water resources in a high elevation post-fire environment.

Comments

Jordan Maxwell is a PhD Student, Brigham Young University

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Oct 29th, 10:00 AM Oct 29th, 10:30 AM

Fire Disturbance Effects on Snow-Water Resources

USU Eccles Conference Center

Snowpack constitutes a large percentage of available water resources within the rocky intermountain regions of the west. It has been well established in the literature that dense conifer vegetation can reduce total snow depth and snow-water equivalence (SWE) by at least 60%. Forest fires at high elevation have the potential of defoliating large swaths of land, thus reducing interception and sublimation of snow on vegetation, and potentially increasing total water yields. In the Twitchell Canyon fire in the Tushar mountains near Beaver, Utah, sites were selected across a gradient of fire severity with sites placed in intact, mid-mortality, highmortality, and open meadow sites. Snow depth and SWE were taken with a U.S. Federal snow sampler at peak snow pack at each site. A significant correlation was found between fire severity and SWE in each paired site. These findings help to confirm previous studies showing an increase of snow-water resources in a high elevation post-fire environment.

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/rtw/2015/Oct29/10