Surviving at Fire and Post-Fire Debris/Mudflow Prone Zones in Colorado Front Range in Light Feng-Shui


Extreme climate patterns in recent decades have led to frequent fire events, rainstorms and debris/mudflows in Colorado Front Range, USA. The landforms of Rocky Mountains coincide with these natural hazards. Once people settle in hazard-prone zones, they are in danger. In many cases, disastrous tragedies stem from design errors. These mistakes in practice reflect a weakness in education. Natural hazards are rarely emphasized in architectural education. Particularly, the topic of post-fire debris/mudflow is missing from the education of the site selection process. This research presents case studies of the high impact areas of the 2013 Colorado historic flood. The field investigations took place one year after the flood, and then again four years later. Following a fire event, debris/mudflows often occur in certain locations during intense and heavy rainfall. The mud flow and debris can run into a river or a lake, causing water levels to rise, which results in flooding. The post-fire debris/mudflow can also destroy hillside houses. Incorrect site selections can lead to disasters. Unfortunately, current insurance policies often require damaged structures to be rebuilt at the same site, which results in recurring damages due to consistent hazards. Learning from geomorphic studies and vernacular wisdom of feng-shui, Chinese geomancy, this interdisciplinary research on identifying landform patterns of high impact areas would help improve the site selection process, and accomplish appropriate warning systems and mitigation strategies. Ultimately, restraining people from settling in high impact areas is the most efficient strategy for mountain communities to survive and thrive.

Author Information
Ping Xu, University of Colorado Boulder, United States

Paper Information
Conference: IICSEEHawaii2018
Stream: Climate change

This paper is part of the IICSEEHawaii2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon