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Article

Effects of Wildfires and Ash Leaching on Stream Chemistry in the Santa Ynez Mountains of Southern California

1
Department of Earth Science, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
2
Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
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Department of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
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Marine Science Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
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Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
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Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Nikolaos Skoulikidis
Water 2021, 13(17), 2402; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13172402
Received: 8 July 2021 / Revised: 25 August 2021 / Accepted: 28 August 2021 / Published: 31 August 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Water Quality and Contamination)
Wildfires can change ecosystems by altering solutes in streams. We examined major cations in streams draining a chaparral-dominated watershed in the Santa Ynez Mountains (California, USA) following a wildfire that burned 75 km2 from July 8 to October 5, 2017. We identified changes in solute concentrations, and postulated a relation between these changes and ash leached by rainwater following the wildfire. Collectively, K+ leached from ash samples exceeded that of all other major cations combined. After the wildfire, the concentrations of all major cations increased in stream water sampled near the fire perimeter following the first storm of the season: K+ increased 12-fold, Na+ and Ca2+ increased 1.4-fold, and Mg2+ increased 1.6-fold. Our results suggested that the 12-fold increase in K+ in stream water resulted from K+ leached from ash in the fire scar. Both C and N were measured in the ash samples. The low N content of the ash indicated either high volatilization of N relative to C occurred, or burned material contained less N. View Full-Text
Keywords: major cations; potassium; stream chemistry; fire; ash major cations; potassium; stream chemistry; fire; ash
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MDPI and ACS Style

Swindle, C.; Shankin-Clarke, P.; Meyerhof, M.; Carlson, J.; Melack, J. Effects of Wildfires and Ash Leaching on Stream Chemistry in the Santa Ynez Mountains of Southern California. Water 2021, 13, 2402. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13172402

AMA Style

Swindle C, Shankin-Clarke P, Meyerhof M, Carlson J, Melack J. Effects of Wildfires and Ash Leaching on Stream Chemistry in the Santa Ynez Mountains of Southern California. Water. 2021; 13(17):2402. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13172402

Chicago/Turabian Style

Swindle, Carl, Parker Shankin-Clarke, Matthew Meyerhof, Jean Carlson, and John Melack. 2021. "Effects of Wildfires and Ash Leaching on Stream Chemistry in the Santa Ynez Mountains of Southern California" Water 13, no. 17: 2402. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13172402

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