Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Jackson M. Leonard; Hugo A. Magana; Randy K. Bangert; Daniel G. Neary; Wilson L. Montgomery
    Date: 2017
    Source: Fire Ecology. 13(3): 62-84.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (4.0 MB)


    This study examined the recovery of both physical and biotic characteristics of small (<0.1 m3 sec-1) headwater stream systems impacted by the Dude Fire, which occurred in central Arizona, USA, in 1990. Data collected prior to the fire from 1986 to1988 was compared to similar data collected at various points after the fire though 2011 in order to assess changes in the geomorphology and macroinvertebrate communities over the 21-year time period. Additionally, several environmental parameters of the impacted streams were compared to neighboring unburned headwater streams in order to determine recovery status. The study hypothesized that the headwater aquatic ecosystems impacted by the Dude Fire have yet to recover to unburned reference conditions. Results show that flooding, which occurred following the fire, resulted in incision in excess of 0.5 m across some stream transects and is continuing to cause shifts in dominant substrate particle size. Macroinvertebrate richness, diversity, and abundance were altered from prefire conditions up to a decade after the fire. Streamside canopy cover across burned streams remained 28 % lower on average. Lower concentrations of key stream nutrients, including nitrate (NO3-) and phosphate (PO43-), within impacted streams are still evident. Increases in summer stream temperatures due to the loss of streamside canopy cover continue to have an adverse affect on salmonid habitat. Thus, the process of recovery is closely tied to streamside vegetation and hydrologic disturbance patterns following the fire event, and will extend beyond the 21-year time period of this study.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to 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.


    Leonard, Jackson M.; Magana, Hugo A.; Bangert, Randy K.; Neary, Daniel G.; Montgomery, Wilson L. 2017. Fire and floods: The recovery of headwater stream systems following high-severity wildfire. Fire Ecology. 13(3): 62-84.


    Google Scholar


    geomorphology, headwater stream, macroinvertebrate, riparian, wildfire effects

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page