Skip to Main Content
Due to a lapse in federal funding, this USDA website will not be actively updated. Once funding has been reestablished, online operations will continue.
Effects of fire retardant on water qualityAuthor(s): Logan A. Norris; Warren L. Webb
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)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
PDF: View PDF (340 KB)
DescriptionAmmonium-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.
- You may send email to email@example.com to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationNorris, 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
- Influence of forest and rangeland management on anadromous fish habitat in Western North America: forest chemicals.
- Short-term effects of wildfires on fishes in the southwestern United States, 2002: management implications
- Impacts of multiple applications of fertilizer on stream chemistry in the Ouachita Mountains
XML: View XML