The Effect Of Temperature And Dissolved Oxygen Concentration Associated With Wildfires

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Anthropogenic climate change is causing hotter and drier conditions across the southwest United States. Decades of fire suppression campaigns have led to an accumulation of ladder fuels within forests across this region. Both of these factors are now contributing to more frequent and more extreme fires in recent years. These catastrophic fires cause significant changes to ground cover along stream corridors. The loss of ground cover significantly increases the amount of sediment entering watersheds, which can alter both temperature and dissolved oxygen levels throughout the system. The purpose of this paper is to examine the changes in water temperature and dissolved oxygen concentration associated with wildfire, how these changes can be controlled, how effective these controls are, and what more can be done. II. Temperature Fire can alter stream temperature in several different ways. First, and probably most short lived, is the immediate temperature spikes caused by the active burning. Second, fire has the potential to reduce overhead canopy cover, thus increasing light penetration and absorbance by the water. Finally, additions of large amounts of sediment (which increases the turbidity of water bodies) can increase the amount of light absorbed thereby increasing the water temperature. Temperatures in streams can spike during active burning and kill many aquatic invertebrates and vertebrates. In addition to this immediate consequence, the loss of the riparian

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