Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-153
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-153
12 Feb 2024
 | 12 Feb 2024

The cascading effect of wildfires on flood risk: a study case in Ebro River basin Spain

Samuel Jonson Sutanto, Matthijs Janssen, Mariana Madruga de Brito, and Maria del Pozo Garcia

Abstract. Climate change increases the risk of wildfires and floods in the Mediterranean region. Yet, wildfire hazards are often overlooked in flood risk assessments and treated in isolation even though they can amplify floods. Indeed, by altering the hydrological response of burnt areas, wildfires can lead to increased runoff and cascading impacts. This study aims to comprehensively assess flood risk using a multi-criteria GIS-based approach, considering both current conditions and future scenarios for the Ebro River basin in Spain in the year 2100. More specifically, this study investigates future flood risk under the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SPP) 1-2.6 and SSP5-8.5 scenarios, taking into account projected socio-economic conditions and the cascading impact of wildfires. An Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) approach is employed to assign weights to various indicators and components of flood risk, based on insights gathered from interviews with seven experts specializing in natural hazards. Results show that the influence of wildfires on baseline flood risk is not apparent. Under the SSP1-2.6 scenario, regions with high flood risk are expected to experience a slight risk reduction, regardless of the presence of wildfires, due to an expected substantial development in adaptive capacity. The highest flood risk, almost double compared to the baseline, is projected to occur in the SSP5-8.5 scenario, especially when considering the cascading impacts of wildfires. Therefore, this research highlights the importance of adopting a multi-hazard risk management approach, as reliance solely on single-risk analyses may lead to an underestimation of the compound and cascading impacts of multi-hazards.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Samuel Jonson Sutanto, Matthijs Janssen, Mariana Madruga de Brito, and Maria del Pozo Garcia

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-153', Anonymous Referee #1, 27 Feb 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Samuel Jonson Sutanto, 03 Apr 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-153', Anonymous Referee #2, 13 Mar 2024
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Samuel Jonson Sutanto, 03 Apr 2024
Samuel Jonson Sutanto, Matthijs Janssen, Mariana Madruga de Brito, and Maria del Pozo Garcia
Samuel Jonson Sutanto, Matthijs Janssen, Mariana Madruga de Brito, and Maria del Pozo Garcia

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Short summary
A conventional flood risk assessment only evaluates flood hazard in isolation without considering wildfires. This study, therefore, evaluates the cascading impact of wildfires on flood risk, considering both current and future conditions for the Ebro River basin in Spain. Results show that extreme climate change increases the risk of flooding, especially when considering the cascading impacts of wildfires, highlighting the importance of adopting a multi-hazard risk management approach.