Theses and Dissertations


Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Vahedifard, Farshid

Committee Member

Leshchinsky, Ben A.

Committee Member

Freyne, Seamus

Committee Member

Aghakouchak, Amir

Committee Member

Banerjee, Tirtha

Other Advisors or Committee Members

Ramirez-Avila, John J.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Civil Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


Changes in climatic regimes and land use have led to increases in wildfire activities around the world. Wildfires are now happening more frequently, at higher altitudes, and higher severities. Adverse impacts of wildfires can last years after the fire has been contained through post-fire geohazards, such as shallow landslides. Post-wildfire shallow landslides are often mobilized by rainfall and due to fire-induced changes in soil and land cover properties and near-surface processes. This study aims to develop a physics-based framework to evaluate the stability of burned hillslopes against rainfall-triggered shallow landslides. A coupled hydromechanical infiltration model is developed by employing a closed-form solution of the Richards equation. The model is integrated into an infinite slope stability analysis to capture the effect of temporal changes in the pressure head profile of an unsaturated vegetated slope on its stability. The proposed model considers the antecedent condition of soil and vegetation cover, the time-varying nature of rainfall intensity, and wildfire-induced changes in soil properties, root reinforcement, transpiration rate, and canopy interception. The efficacy of the proposed framework is illustrated through modeling a case study in the Las Lomas watershed in California, USA. The watershed was a part of a larger area that was burned in the San Gabriel Complex Fire (consisting of two separate fires, the Fish Fire and the Reservoir Fire) in 2016. Three years later, during a heavy rainstorm in January 2019, the affected area, including the Las Lomas watershed, experienced widespread landslides. The proposed framework is then integrated into a geographic information system (GIS) to generate a susceptibility map of post-wildfire rainfall-triggered shallow landslides. The applicability of the proposed framework at a regional scale is tested for the entire area affected by the San Gabriel Complex Fire to model the observed shallow landslides within the boundaries of the Fish Fire and the Reservoir Fire. The findings of this study can be used to warn the community of post-wildfire shallow landslides activities.