Building capacity for assessment and prediction of post-wildfire water availability

Each year, millions of acres of land burn in the U.S., including watersheds that deliver drinking water to millions of people. After fires, storms can convey sediment, ash, fire retardants, pollutants, and debris to surface water, leading to impaired water quality, loss of reservoir storage, and high costs to water providers. In addition, wildfire can alter runoff and snowmelt processes, which can affect both water quantity and quality. Thus, in order to accurately assess and predict water availability in the western U.S., we need to accurately measure and model the impacts of wildfire on water quality, quantity, and use. The hydrologic response to wildfires, however, poses challenges to current measurement, modeling, and prediction capabilities. This talk described recent efforts by the U.S. Geological Survey Water Mission Area to build the capacity to assess and predict wildfire impacts on water availability that include: foundational measurements for model development and testing, monitoring plans and best practices, determination of drivers of water quality impairment for different constituents, remote sensing assessment, and blueprints for physically based models.

Presenters: Brian Ebel, Research Hydrologist, and Sheila Murphy, Research Hydrologist (US. Geological Survey)

watch the recording here

Please see USGS data visualization about wildfire & water supplies at How Wildfires Threaten U.S. Water Supplies (


Nov 02 2022


Mountain Time
11:00 am - 12:00 pm

The event is finished.