Immediate effects of wildfire on stream temperature

Nathaniel P. Hitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Wildfires have an important role in many freshwater ecosystems, yet the immediate effects of wildfire are poorly documented. Stream temperatures before, during, and after a recent high-severity wildfire are presented for Deadhorse Creek, Montana, USA. The recorded peak temperature (17.2°C) occurred while the forest was burning and exceeded concurrent water temperatures in an unburned control stream by 7.8°C. Following the wildfire, daily thermal maxima exceeded unburned stream conditions but burned and unburned daily minima corresponded closely. Recorded water temperatures did not exceed thermal limits for fishes or aquatic insects but may have contributed to the chemical toxicity of the stream.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-173
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Freshwater Ecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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