Effects of wildfire on rockfall occurrence: a review through actual cases in Spain
UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER: http://hdl.handle.net/11093/2831
EDITED VERSION: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3417/11/6/2545
DOCUMENT TYPE: article
Understanding processes and conditions that lead to rockfalls during and after a wildfire in different geological contexts is crucial since this phenomenon is one of the major hazards in mountainous regions across Europe. Spain is one of the European countries with the highest rate of wildfires, and rockfalls cause high economic and social impact, with many fatalities every year. The increase of rockfalls during and after wildfires is connected with the merging of different factors, not only in the detached area but also in the propagation and potentially affected area. When wildfire occurred, many actions take place: changes in the mechanical conditions of the rocks, the loss of protective capacity from vegetation, the effect induced by firefighting activities and/or the impact by the high temperatures in the adopted protective measures. After the wildfire, there is an increase in frequency and intensity of rockfalls in the burned area, causing a major impact of rockfalls on not only road networks and built-up areas but also people living. Additionally, the removal of vegetation by wildfires causes an increase in the risk perception, related not only to detached blocks but also to the general appearance of the rock mass. In this review, the main factors that influence the occurrence of rockfalls after a wildfire are analyzed, and three actual case studies in Spain are presented to support the variety of conclusions obtained.
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