From epic wildfires to epic flash floods: Rethinking environmental planning in an era of extremes
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PublisherUniversidad Politécnica de Cartagena
Bibliographic CitationSerra-Llobet, A.; Radke, J. From epic wildfires to epic flash floods: Rethinking environmental planning in an era of extremes. En SUPTM 2022: 1st Conference on Future Challenges in Sustainable Urban Planning & Territorial Management, 17–19 Jan 2022
Floods after fires
On January 9, 2018, a series of debris flows killed 23 people and caused over a $1 billion in economic losses in Montecito, Santa Barbara County, California. The debris flows followed a classic pattern in mountainous areas of southern California: A large wildfire (the 2017 Thomas Fire) burned the headwaters of streams draining the Transverse Ranges southward to the Pacific. A cell of intense rain fell on hydrophobic soils in the burn area, generating debris flows that propagated downstream, affecting areas along the stream channels. The 2018 Montecito debris flows raise compelling questions about the role of scientific information in decision making generally, and specifically how hazardous areas along rivers and streams are mapped, how land use is regulated in these zones, and how best to respond in emergency situations. We analyze the evolution of urban development in these flood hazard areas since the beginning of the 20th century, the recovery planning strategies that the local ...
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