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

Meeting Lisbon, Portugal, 14-16 February 2018

 Registration is complete

Southern Europe was ravaged by wildfires in the summer of 2017. 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 understand water and sediment connectivity between burnt slopes, streams and water bodies, and that of associated contaminants, in order to determine the risk of water quality contamination after a fire, design effective mitigation measures for emergency soil stabilization, and support long-term land-use planning in fire-prone forests. This is particularly important as climate change is expected to increase the length of the fire season and could exacerbate this problem.

This meeting 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. It will be supported by both Connecteur and the PLACARD project ( It will be organized by Stefan Doerr (Swansea Univ.), João Pedro Nunes and Mário Pulquério (Univ. Lisbon), and Jacob Keizer (Univ. Aveiro).

The meeting will run for 3 full days:

  • Feb 14: scientific meeting with individual presentations; the keynote speeches will be delivered in a public session followed by an open debate.
  • Feb 15: field trip to the site of the devastating fires of 2017.
  • Feb 16: open discussion on present-day research gaps and future research needs and elaboration of a list of recommendations for research in Europe.

Selected contributions from the scientific meeting can be submitted to a special issue we’re organizing for the Int. J. Wildland Fire.



Registration for this event will open at a later time