Interdependencies Between Wildfire-Induced Alterations in Soil Properties, Near-Surface Processes, and Geohazards

Farshid Vahedifard, Masood Abdollahi, Ben A. Leshchinsky, Timothy D. Stark, Mojtaba Sadegh, Amir AghaKouchak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The frequency, severity, and spatial extent of destructive wildfires have increased in several regions globally over the past decades. While direct impacts from wildfires are devastating, the hazardous legacy of wildfires affects nearby communities long after the flames have been extinguished. Post-wildfire soil conditions control the persistence, severity, and timing of cascading geohazards in burned landscapes. The interplay and feedback between geohazards and wildfire-induced changes to soil properties, land cover conditions, and near-surface and surface processes are still poorly understood. Here, we synthesize wildfire-induced processes that can affect the critical attributes of burned soils and their conditioning of subsequent geohazards. More specifically, we discuss the state of knowledge pertaining to changes in mineralogical, hydraulic, mechanical, and thermal properties of soil due to wildfire with a focus on advances in the past decade. We identify how these changes in soil properties alter evapotranspiration, interception, sediment transport, infiltration, and runoff. We then link these alterations to the evolution of different geohazards, including dry raveling, erosion, rockfalls, landslides, debris flows, and land subsidence. Finally, we identify research gaps and future directions to advance knowledge on how wildfires control the evolution of various earth surface processes and geohazards over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2023EA003498
JournalEarth and Space Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • cascading hazards
  • debris flow
  • geohazards
  • landslide
  • soil erosion
  • wildfires

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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