Effects of wildfire on source-water quality and aquatic ecosystems, Colorado Front Range

IAHS Red Book 354
By: , and 
Edited by: Mike StoneAdrian Collins, and Martin C. Thoms



Watershed erosion can dramatically increase after wildfire, but limited research has evaluated the corresponding influence on source-water quality. This study evaluated the effects of the Fourmile Canyon wildfire (Colorado Front Range, USA) on source-water quality and aquatic ecosystems using high- frequency sampling. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and nutrient loads in stream water were evaluated for a one-year period during different types of runoff events, including spring snowmelt, and both frontal and summer convective storms. DOC export from the burned watershed did not increase relative to the unburned watershed during spring snowmelt, but substantial increases in DOC export were observed during summer convective storms. Elevated nutrient export from the burned watershed was observed during spring snowmelt and summer convective storms, which increased the primary productivity of stream biofilms. Wildfire effects on source-water quality were shown to be substantial following high-intensity storms, with the potential to affect drinking-water treatment processes.

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Effects of wildfire on source-water quality and aquatic ecosystems, Colorado Front Range
Series title IAHS Red Book
Series number 354
ISBN 978-1-907161-32-2
Volume 354
Year Published 2012
Language English
Publisher IAHS Publications
Publisher location Oxfordshire, U.K.
Contributing office(s) Branch of Regional Research-Central Region
Description 8 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title Wildfire and water quality: Processes, impacts and challenges (IAHS Red Book no. 354)
First page 117
Last page 122
Conference Title Wildfire and Water Quality: Processes, Impacts and Challenges
Conference Location Banff, AB
Conference Date June 11-14, 2012
Country United States
State Colorado
Other Geospatial Colorado Front Range
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Additional publication details