UBC Undergraduate Research

Impacts of Forest Fires on Drinking Water Quality in North America Chiang, Amity


The amount of area burned by wildfire has greatly increased due to human and industrial practices. Therefore, it is crucial to identify the hazards and take actions to prevent the frequent occurrence of wildfires. This research essay is focused on the effect of forest fires in North America on drinking water quality. Review of journal articles, government websites, and other electronic sources indicates that concentrations of nitrogen (especially on nitrate and ammonium), which can be toxic and harmful to human health, typically increase following wildfire. Post fire concentrations of nitrogen in streams depend on the amount of soil erosion and runoff. Other parameters that are affected include chemicals in fire retardant, water temperature, and water pH levels. This essay also examines several postfire options to serve as long term preventative measures.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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