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Authors: Bisson, M.* 
Favalli, M.* 
Fornaciai, A.* 
Mazzarini, F.* 
Isola, I.* 
Zanchetta, G.* 
Pareschi, M. T.* 
Title: A rapid method to assess fire-related debris flow hazard in the Mediterranean region: An example from Sicily (southern Italy)
Issue Date: Nov-2005
Series/Report no.: 3/7(2005)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jag.2005.04.003
Keywords: Fires
Debris flows
Southern Italy
Subject Classification05. General::05.08. Risk::05.08.01. Environmental risk 
Abstract: Increased atmospheric temperatures during the high-pressure which characterise the Mediterranean climate in the dry summer time, coupled with an increase in the intensity of storms in the following wet season over recent years, increase the risk of summer fires as well as debris flows and floods in the autumn and/or in the following years. In addition, the diffuse urbanization of Italy requires a rapid and reliable tool be available in order to obtain preliminary information, at the end of the summer season, that identifies newly fired areas that present a significant hazard to human populations. In such burned zones, soil instability may be more severe favouring debris flows which may impact on populated zones. Thus, in this paper we discuss a rapid methodology to: (i) identify burned areas using band ratio's using multitemporal LANDSAT ETM images; (ii) evaluate the potential of the burned areas as the source of debris flows based on morphometric parameters (slope and hill slope curvature); (iii) evaluate the structures, such as houses and roads, exposed to potential damage by debris flows. Hazardous areas were evaluated using a stochastical model coupled with an empirical relationship which accounts for the mobility of the debris flows. The methodology provides a classification of the most “dangerous” burned areas and the potentially maximum inundated downslope areas. This has been applied to Sicily for the period autumn 2001–autumn 2002. The total burned area was 76.37 km2. According to the classification proposed 6.4% of the burned areas were consider of very high to high hazard potential, 54.4% of medium hazard and 43.2% of low hazard potential.
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