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Sheila Murphy USGS press release “Storms after Wildfire Lead to Impaired Water Quality”

Fourmile Canyon Fire:

01 Oct 2015
News Source: USGS Newsroom

Fourmile Canyon fire September 2010, burned about 6,000 acres in Boulder County, CO. Storms after wildfire led to downstream water-quality impairment.

Image: Fourmile Canyon Fire: [Click image to enlarge]

Water quality can be substantially diminished for several years after wildfire in response to relatively common local thunderstorms, according to a recent USGS study.

USGS scientists led by research hydrologist Sheila Murphy collected extensive streamflow and water-quality data for three years after the Fourmile Canyon Fire, Colo., in a geographic setting typical of the American southwest. They then correlated the results with data from a high-density rain gage network.

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Evaluating the effects of wildfire on stream processes in a Colorado front range watershed, USA. Murphy, S.F., and Writer, J.H. (2011): Applied Geochemistry 26 (S1): S363-S364.


Wildfire Effects on Source-Water Quality—Lessons from Fourmile Canyon Fire, Colorado, and Implications for Drinking-Water Treatment. Writer, J.H. and Murphy, S.F. (2012): U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2012–3095, 4 p.

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