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Reducing post-fire hillslope erosion

Posted date: January 23, 2015
Publication Year: 
Authors: Robichaud, Pete R.;
Document type: Briefing Papers


Post-fire erosion can be a major issue when trying to protect downstream values at risk. Mulch treatments (agricultural straw, woods strands, wood shreds, and hydromulch) are frequently recommended as a technique used to mitigate post-fire increases in runoff and erosion rates. However, the comparative effectiveness of the various mulch treatments is not well established.

Key Points:

  • Dry mulch treatments (agricultural straw, woods strands, wood shreds) are increasingly used as postfire hillslope stabilization treatments.
  • Dry mulches can be highly effective in reducing postfire runoff and erosion.
  • Innovative options for producing and applying mulch materials have been adapted for use on large burned areas that are inaccessible by road.
  • Hydromulches have been used after some fires. Recent research shows that they have been less effective than dry mulches in stabilizing burned hillslopes and generally decompose or degrade within a year.

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