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Publication Information

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Title: Effects of fire retardant on water quality

Author: Norris, Logan A.; Webb, Warren L.;

Date: 1989

Source: In: Berg, Neil H. tech. coord. Proceedings of the Symposium on Fire and Watershed Management: October 26-28, 1988, Sacramento, California. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-109. Berkeley, Calif.: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station: 79-86

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Ammonium-based fire retardants are important in managing wildfires, but their use can adversely affect water quality. Their entry, fate, and impact were studied in five forest streams. Initial retardant concentrations in water approached levels which could damage fish, but no distressed fish were found. Concentrations decreased sharply with time after application and distance downstream, and there was no long-term entry. The numbers and kinds of stream insects were not affected. Simulations of retardant dispersal in streams showed fish mortality might occur from zero to more than 10,000 m below the point of chemical entry, depending on application parameters and stream characteristics. Guidelines to minimize adverse impacts from the use of fire retardants are suggested.

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Norris, Logan A.; Webb, Warren L. 1989. Effects of fire retardant on water quality. In: Berg, Neil H. tech. coord. Proceedings of the Symposium on Fire and Watershed Management: October 26-28, 1988, Sacramento, California. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-109. Berkeley, Calif.: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station: 79-86

 


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