Connecting burnt hillslopes, streams and reservoirs: impacts of fires on water quality

Meeting Lisbon, Portugal, 14-16 February 2018

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Southern Europe was ravaged by wildfires in the summer of 2018. Besides destroying vegetation, fires blanked the soils with an ash layer which contains nutrients, heavy metals and potentially toxic organic compounds. Afterwards, runoff and associated sediment and ash transport can contaminate downstream rivers and reservoirs, harming aquatic ecosystems and limiting water resources for human use.

 Much research has focused on runoff and erosion in burnt hillslopes. There is an urgent need, however, to study the processes connecting these hillslopes with the water bodies in order to assess the risk of post-fire contamination and design effective mitigation measures. This includes studying water and sediment connectivity from slopes to streams, and also that of contaminants transported with water and sediments.

 This meeting will run 14, 15, and the morning of 16 February 2018. It aims to join together researchers from Europe, but also from north America and Australia, to discuss the current state of the art in post-fire contamination risk assessment, identify the most pressing research needs, and propose a way forward.


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