Post-Wildlife Geohazard Assessments of Impacted Natural Gas Pipeline Corridors
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Large portions of the existing natural gas infrastructure within California are located in or extend through rural and undeveloped natural terrain.

Given the increasing propensity for wildland fires (wildfires) within these non-urbanized areas in the western United States and specifically California, existing utility infrastructure is often subject to adverse impacts resulting from post-fire conditions.  Within the last few years, significant wildfires such as the Thomas Fire (2017), Woolsey and Hill Fires (2018), Saddle Ridge Fire (2019), Silverado Fire (2020), and most recently the Alisal Fire (2021) have burned across major natural gas transmission corridors or facilities managed by various utility companies.  Direct impacts from wildfire to buried pipelines and support facilities are often minimal, however post-fire conditions in high intensity burn areas can result in secondary affects from loss of vegetation and hydrophobic soil conditions for periods of 2 to 5 plus years following a wildfire.  These secondary affects may result in Geohazards which can potentially compromise critical infrastructure resulting from landslide or hydrotechnical hazard damage mechanisms such as dynamic loading, impact loading, fatigue, and increased strain from mass movements of soil and debris or water.  An extreme example of these secondary affects was observed in the 2018 Central California debris flow event in which large volumes of wood, sediment, and boulder debris adversely affected several pipeline transmission corridors. This presentation will discuss a qualitative approach to rapid hazard assessments for the identification of critical areas of interest using case studies and highlight examples of engineered mitigation.

Publication Summary

  • Geosyntec Authors: Alex Greene
  • All Authors: Alex Greene
  • Title: 65th Annual Meeting of the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists (AEG)
  • Event or Publication: Event
  • Practice Areas: Contaminated Site Assessment and Cleanup, Environmental Planning and Management, Water and Natural Resources
  • Citation: Title: Post-Wildlife Geohazard Assessments of Impacted Natural Gas Pipeline Corridors Presenter: Alex Greene, P.G., CEG, Sr. Principal Engineering Geologist Date/Time: Friday, September 16, 2:00–2:20 p.m. PDT
  • Date: September 12 through 17, 2022
  • Location: Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Resort and Casino
  • Publication Type: Platform Presentation