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Master of Environmental Data Science

Assessing How Groundwater Availability Coincides with Wildfire Risk

Group Members: Jillian Allison, Meagan Brown, Andre Dextre, Wade Sedgwick

Faculty Advisors: Max Moritz

Client: The Nature Conservancy




Climatic events such as drought and wildfires have become more frequent and severe in California, causing structural and ecological damage. While there is an understanding of both freshwater resource management and wildfires, there has been little work directed towards integrating groundwater data into wildfire risk models. To fill this knowledge gap, we will assess how groundwater availability coincides with wildfire risks in California. In particular, we will use statewide publicly-available geospatial data of groundwater and wildfire datasets to analyze and interpret the effect that groundwater levels have on fire hazard models. Our approach will rely on existing wildfire data, including wildfire risk assessments and a database of burn perimeters, coupled with freshwater data, including mapped groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs) and groundwater level measurements, to conduct several spatial analyses and data products. We will produce an open-source interactive ShinyApp that will visualize how groundwater availability affects wildfire risk models.

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