Fire Intensity / Burn Severity
The increasing number of wildfires in southern Europe is making our ecosystem more vulnerable to water erosion; i.e., the loss of vegetation and subsequent runoff increase cause a shift in large quantities of sediment. Fire severity has been recognized as one of the most important parameters controlling the magnitude of post-fire soil erosion. In this paper, we adopted a combination of methods to easily assess post-fire erosion and prevent potential risk in subsequent rain events. The model presented is structured into three modules that were implemented in a GIS environment. The first module estimates fire severity with the Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS) method; the second estimates runoff with rainfall depth–duration curves and the Soil Conservation Service Curve Number (SCS-CN) method; and the third estimates pre- and post-fire soil erosion. In addition, two post-fire scenarios were analyzed to assess the influence of fire severity on soil erosion: the former based on the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and the latter on the Relative differenced Normalized Burn Index (RdNBR). The results obtained in both scenarios are quite similar and demonstrate that transitional areas, such as rangelands and rangelands with bush, are the most vulnerable because they show a significant increase in erosion following a fire event. The study findings are of secondary importance to the combined approach devised because the focal point of the study is to create the basis for a future tool to facilitate decision making in landscape management.