Post-fire water-quality response in the western United States

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Evidence from this analysis shows significant increases in nutrient flux (different forms of nitrogen and phosphorus), major-ion flux and metal concentrations are the most common changes in stream water quality within the first 5 years after fire. Dissolved constituents of ions and metals tended to decrease in concentration 5 years after fire whereas particulate matter concentration continued to increase. Assembling this unique and extensive dataset provided the opportunity to determine the most common post-fire water-quality changes in the large and diverse Western USA. Results from this study could inform studies in other parts of the world, will help parameterise and validate post-fire water-quality models, and assist communities affected by wildfire to anticipate changes to their water quality.

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