Since 1991, Geosyntec’s experts have rapidly assessed post-fire hazards to avoid secondary disasters, such as flooding and landslides, in fire-affected areas.

We develop and implement emergency mitigation measures that reduce impacts to homes and infrastructure. We characterize and monitor the removal of hazardous ash and burned debris to reduce public health hazards and protect water quality. Geosyntec has an experience-built approach to addressing post-fire conditions that has been widely valued by municipalities, federal and state funding agencies, and local stakeholders.

  • Hazard Mitigation Assessment
  • Debris and Erosion Control
  • Litigation Support
  • Burn Ash and Debris Removal Monitoring
  • BMP Design and Contractor Oversight
  • Public Outreach Facilitation
  • Cost Reimbursement Support

Wildfire Services

Water Quality Impacts

Geosyntec specializes in leading novel post-fire water quality studies, including designing hypothesis-driven forensic investigation into causes of Water Quality Standard exceedances and specialized modeling and risk assessment. We also offer unique Clean Water Act expertise, including litigation and enforcement response, as well as experience with a variety of other environmental regulations and their applications to a post-fire setting. Our modeling experience includes water supply and environmental flow assessment, and evaluation of climate change effects on hydrology.

  • Water quality and debris monitoring
  • Forensic analysis of causes of pollutants in stormwater
  • Scientific studies of watershed recovery (hydrology, water quality)
  • Treatment and source control
  • Water quality modeling
  • Drinking water source protection and management
  • Sediment transport and debris flow modeling
  • Remote sensing and drone assessments


Post-fire conditions can promote increased susceptibility to geohazards such as landslides, earth flows, debris flows, and channel scour or avulsion and have a high potential to adversely impact engineered structures, utilities, and public safety in general. Geosyntec assists clients with the identification, characterization, and mitigation of wildfire related geohazards at both the Pre- and Post-fire stages. Geosyntec’s approach to qualitative and quantitative geohazard assessments typically involves three phases of investigation related to the clients’ assets including:

  1. Desktop Evaluation
  2. Field Evaluation and Data Collection
  3. Quantitative Evaluation of Geohazard
  • Emergency field response evaluations
  • Pre-fire susceptibility evaluations
  • Slope stability and rockfall analyses
  • Debris flow susceptibility analyses
  • Infrastructure integrity assessments
  • Engineering mitigation
  • Erosion and sediment control

Hydrotechnical Hazards

Fires can promote increased susceptibility to hydrotechnical hazards through formation of hydrophobic soils, decreased plant canopy interception, and increased sediment runoff, resulting in larger peak flows and potentially damaging mudflows. Geosyntec’s experts in hydrology, hydraulics, and geomorphology specialize in evaluating watercourses’ potential for scour, channel migration, or sedimentation where infrastructure could be impacted. We quantify how land use changes, including those caused by fire, afect stream stability, and develop mitigation strategies to minimize such impacts and re-establish natural processes. Our project experience in both stream rehabilitation (fixing an existing geomorphic impact) and hydromodification management (preventing a geomorphic impact from occurring) enables us to design cost-effective, sustainable solutions for our clients.

  • Channel migration analysis
  • Scour assessment/Hazard screening
  • Utility design at watercourse crossings
  • Hydrologic and hydraulic analysis
  • Hydromodification management
  • Stream restoration
  • Geomorphic monitoring and adaptive management Engineering mitigation
  • Erosion and sediment control
  • Rapid geomorphic field and aerial assessment
  • Alluvial fan flood mapping
  • Geomorphic change detection analysis
  • Machine learning/Remote sensing

Debris Monitoring

Exposure to hazardous substances resulting from the ash and burned debris from wildfires poses significant threats to public health through inhalation of dust particles and contamination of drinking water sources. Since 1991, public agencies in the western U.S. have turned to Geosyntec for technical assistance to determine the presence of these hazards and to assist with qualifying for FEMA reimbursement for the cost of removal. Geosyntec assists by characterizing, sampling, and analyzing the ash and burned debris, monitoring its clearance, and overseeing the demolition of damaged structures to eliminate immediate threats to public health and safety.

  • Monitoring
  • Forensic analysis of causes of pollutants in stormwater
  • Segregating and removing debris (ash, metal, concrete, soil, etc)
  • Training debris monitors/ Task force leads
  • Indoor and outdoor air monitoring
  • Dust monitoring
  • Develop monitoring plans

Post-Fire Erosion Mitigation Management

Our team’s approach includes partnering with state and local government personnel and working closely with funding agencies to develop and implement approved Post-Fire Hazard Response Plans. We utilize desktop data such as Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) reports, soil samples, geologic data, terrain data, and land-use maps to identify conditions that contribute to increased risk. Field teams are deployed to identify high priority areas (areas that are subject to increased flooding, erosion, landslide or rock fall hazards) that could potentially threaten lives, property, and water supplies. Our experts prepare and obtain funding agency concurrence on Damage Survey Reports (DSR) that identify hazard locations and define quantities of materials and estimates of manpower required for mitigation.

  • Develop damage survey reports/Mitigation plans
  • Sediment transport modeling
  • Hydrophobicity testing
  • BMP implementation training and oversight
  • Post-BMP implementation inspections/As-built plans
  • Hydrology and hydraulic evaluations to inform infrastructure sizing
  • State and federal funding support
  • Community outreach
  • Drone surveys

Quick Qual

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