Wildfires, Water and the West

Monday, November 12, 2018

Bringing the Heat

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California has been this weeks top headline; thousands of people have been forced to evacuate their homes due to a wildfire that has spread all the way from Butte County, California.

Wildfires and the West

California is currently attack by the worst wildfire in history. As of November 12th, 23 people have died, and over 100 people are missing. The Campfire exploded in Butte County, California; according to officials the blaze, which continues to burn, has destroyed 6,713 structures, most of them single-family homes, and the number is expected to rise significantly. Many have lost their homes, charished memories, animals, and loved ones.

Dry, Drier and Driest

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Wildfires are unfortunately common in California; however if we know this, why is it still happening? Climate change. Climate change is the leading cause of wildfires, out west. The average temperature in California has reached about 2-3 degrees warmer with global warming. Thus the land is extremely dry, and even if there is a seeminly harmless spark from a cigarette, the area can set ablaze. While the fall and winter add moisture, California summers are very hot and dry. The lack of moisture, in the air, dries up the vegetation, becoming a breeding ground for fires. While climate change is the main cause of wildfires, past fires also play an important role. The areas previously affected by fires, become increasingly dry, becoming an incubator for more serious fires to come.

Water and Wildfires

In California and southwestern United States, most of the water is sourced from the forests; overall the water from forests, is of higher quality than any other source. In fact, approximately 80 percent of all freshwater in the United States, is from forested land. Along with this, more than 3,400 public drinking-water systems are located in watersheds containing national forest lands. Now why is this a big deal? During a wildfire, many of these watersheds are burned down and become susceptible to erosion and flooding. Wildfires also affect the water quality itself. Not all of the problems are seen immediately; water quality can diminish for up to 4-5 months after the wildfire as well.

"Water" the Implecations

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Most people are under the impression that water always 'beats' fire. However, this is actually not the case. As mentioned earlier, the damage, to the water quality, caused by a wildfire, compromises water quality during the fire, as well as up to 4-5 months later. Ash is a major concern; active-burning ash can settle on lakes and in reservoirs, contaminating the drinking water and the water supplies (i.e. watersheds).

Wildfires, like many water contamination problems, cause damage that we cannot always see. According to health link BC, wildfires are responsible for water contamination in more ways than one:

  1. Changes in water quality through build-up of:

    • ash
    • soil erosion
    • fire debris
  2. Changes in taste, colour and smell of drinking water
  3. Fire retardant can cause a rise in soil and water chemical levels, such as:

    • phosphate
    • nitrate
    • nitrite

The effects of wildfires go far beyond the immediate fire; consequently making it increasingly difficult for local water treatment systems to make water safe, for everyone. Multiple factors go into water safety: power of the fire, size of the fire, the weater, type of landscape, type of geography and the ecosystem of the water.

Problems with Unpredictability

Officials try to provide safe drinking water, but wildfires can make this a difficult task. Wildfire disruption is unpredictable and difficult to develop treatment plans for. Watershed destruction can be eroded or flooded into downstream water supplies, causing even greater levels of damage.

The unpredictability of wildfire contamination, causes large scale affects on municipal water supplies. According to USGS, science for changing the world, wildfires have so many implecations, it is difficult to predict the following:

  1. Changes in the magnitude and timing of snowmelt runoff - influencing filling of water-supply reservoirs
  2. Increased sediment loading of water-supply reservoirs, shortened reservoir lifetime, and increased maintenance costs
  3. Increased turbidity (cloudiness in the water), or heightened iron and manganese concentrations, which increases chemical treatment requirements and produces larger volumes of sludge, both of which would raise operating costs
  4. Changes in source-water chemistry that can alter drinking-water treatment

Tern Water - Putting out the Flames

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Water quality, will be the next big concern, for the California residents affected by the Wildfire. Tern Water created the Smart Faucet - the world's first smart water filter. Adding the Smart Faucet into the home can eliminate the fear of ingesting low quality water. With so many other things to worry about, adding the Smart Faucet into your home can eliminate any fear that you and your family are drinking contaminated water. Our main goal at Tern, is to provide everyone with safe and sustainable drinking water. Why let something that is a necessity take a back-seat in your life?

To the families currently battling the fire in California, we are here for you! Please donate at the attached links, to help

California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund: For 15 years, the foundation has offered aid to those affected by wildfires. Grants have gone to rebuilding homes, providing financial and mental health assistance and helping those affected to get medical treatment

California Fire Foundation: This organization is on the ground distributing financial assistance to people who have lost everything in the fires. Through its emergency assistance program, firefighters distribute pre-paid gift cards to help those who need to purchase necessities like food, medicine and clothing.

Humane Society of Ventura County: This nonprofit is accepting donations to help animals displaced by the Woolsey and Hill Fires. It is taking in domestic animals, such as dogs, cats and birds, as well as livestock.

Past Posts

  • #Waterroundup for December 5th, 2018

    Wednesday, December 5, 2018

  • #Waterroundup for November 28th, 2018

    Wednesday, November 28, 2018

  • #Waterroundup for November 21st, 2018

    Wednesday, November 21, 2018

  • Water Contamination: The Lead Source

    Tuesday, November 20, 2018

  • #Waterroundup for November 14th, 2018

    Wednesday, November 14, 2018

  • Wildfires, Water and the West

    Monday, November 12, 2018

  • #Waterroundup for November 8th, 2018

    Thursday, November 8, 2018

  • Plastic Bottles vs. The Smart Faucet

    Thursday, November 8, 2018

  • #Waterroundup for October 31st, 2018

    Wednesday, October 31, 2018

  • Newark Water Crisis

    Wednesday, October 31, 2018

  • Drink Water to Help You Lose Weight

    Tuesday, September 18, 2018

  • Official Tern Water Press Release: 5% Healthy Water Initiative

    Monday, July 23, 2018

  • Water Main Breaks and Floods Center City Philadelphia

    Monday, July 23, 2018

  • Scott Mazo at Healthy Philly

    Friday, July 20, 2018

  • Philly Water Startup can help Elon Musk bring healthy Water to Flint

    Wednesday, July 11, 2018

  • #waterroundup for July 6, 2018

    Friday, July 6, 2018

  • The Product Development Cycle of the Smart Faucet: Test, Optimize, and Test Some More

    Friday, July 6, 2018

  • #waterroundup for June 29th, 2018

    Friday, June 29, 2018

  • Tern's Work for Healthy Water Never Stops

    Friday, June 29, 2018

  • Tern's Benchmarks for Water Quality

    Wednesday, June 27, 2018

  • Spotlight on Infrastructure: California

    Monday, June 25, 2018

  • #waterroundup for June 22nd, 2018

    Saturday, June 23, 2018

  • Tern Visits the Advanced Manufacturing Show in New York

    Friday, June 22, 2018

  • From our Friends at PiperWai: Activated Charcoal, What Is It and What Does It Do?

    Tuesday, June 19, 2018

  • Why I Believe in Water for Good Health

    Monday, June 18, 2018

  • #waterroundup for June 15th, 2018

    Friday, June 15, 2018

  • The Growing Smart Home Market

    Wednesday, June 13, 2018

  • Spotlight on Infrastructure: Miami

    Monday, June 11, 2018

  • #waterroundup for June 8th, 2018

    Friday, June 8, 2018

  • It Happened in Hinkley

    Wednesday, June 6, 2018

  • Know Your Contaminant: Chromium-6

    Monday, June 4, 2018

  • #waterroundup for June 1st, 2018

    Friday, June 1, 2018

  • What's the Deal with Raw Water?

    Wednesday, May 30, 2018

  • #waterroundup for May 25th, 2018

    Friday, May 25, 2018

  • Know Your Contaminant: Lead

    Thursday, May 24, 2018

  • On the EPA and the National Leadership Summit

    Wednesday, May 23, 2018

  • #waterroundup for May 18th, 2018

    Friday, May 18, 2018

  • Spotlight on Water Infrastructure: New York City

    Wednesday, May 16, 2018

  • The waterroundup for Friday, May 11

    Friday, May 11, 2018

  • The waterroundup for Friday, April 20

    Friday, April 20, 2018

  • How water data can help entire communities live healthier lives

    Thursday, April 5, 2018

  • A Conversation with the Water Department

    Wednesday, March 28, 2018

  • Health Benefits of Water, In Honor of World Water Day

    Wednesday, March 21, 2018

  • Healthy Water at the "Point of Use"

    Tuesday, March 13, 2018

  • How to Make Sure Water From Our Kitchen is Safe to Drink

    Thursday, March 8, 2018

  • Lack of Water Awareness is a Growing Problem, and We’re Fixing That

    Monday, February 26, 2018

  • Tern Water reply to statements made by the Philadelphia Water Department

    Wednesday, February 14, 2018

  • Cape Cod, You Can Now Test Your Water Quality!

    Thursday, December 7, 2017

  • PA, Get Your Water Turbidity Tested!

    Tuesday, November 21, 2017

  • Tern Launches Know Your Water

    Thursday, October 5, 2017

  • Alexandria’s Flood

    Tuesday, July 18, 2017

  • Tern Water Announces Partnership with Cross Properties.

    Tuesday, July 18, 2017

  • There’s Something in the Water: The Betrayal of a Municipal Water System

    Tuesday, July 18, 2017

  • Water for the Modern Age

    Tuesday, November 29, 2016

  • Background Information

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • Tern Standards, Accuracy, and References

    Friday, January 1, 2016