The Effect Of Wildfires On Water Quality Essay

The Effect Of Wildfires On Water Quality Essay

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There have been a multitude of field studies that have examined the effects that wildfires have had on water quality, where each study has examined some aspects that are to be addressed in this proposed field study. Some of the strategies and methods developed in these studies will be adapted to address the objectives of the proposed study.
In the study titled The Role of Precipitation Type Intensity and Spatial Distribution in Source Water Quality after Wildfire, the authors examined how storm events that occurred after a wildfire impacted water quality. The area of study dealt with drinking water supplies that became impacted from the Fourmile Canyon Fire in Colorado. To see how storm events exacerbated water quality, the authors collected data from the affected area and from the unaffected area located upstream of the incident. Comparing the data collected from the different sites would help describe the affects that the storm events had on water quality after the occurrence of the wildfire. Of the data collected, the authors collected precipitation data from stream gages and stations from the affected and unaffected wildfire areas. In addition, they collected water samples monthly during base flow conditions and then collected water samples 2-8 times per month during the rest of the year. However, to have thorough results, more samples were collected at a greater frequency with automatic samplers every 0.3 to 4 hours during a storm event and after a storm event.
Within the 3 year period of the field study, the water samples were collected, water quality parameters were measured and rain events were recorded. The water quality parameters of interest that were measured from the water samples involved measuring cations, nitrogen...

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...lopes. A total of 22 plots were used for the sampling sites. The silt fences were placed where the slope of the terrain was uniform and had some degree of wildfire disturbance. In addition, they were placed in the middle of the hillslope and were placed less than 1000 m apart. Sediment was collected annually from the silt fences and was analyzed. The erosion rates between the two sites that had timber hauling and no timber hauling was determined with a mixed model analysis. The vegetation cover in the sample sites was also considered as part of the analysis. With the completion of this study, the erosion rates at each site could be determined. Through the methods applied in this study it was determined that the erosion increased each year as a result of storm events but the timber hauling site always had higher erosion rates than the site that had no timber hauling.

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