Prairie water supplies most at risk from wildfires
A crew fights a wildfire in the La Ronge, Sask., on Saturday, July 4, 2015. (Government of Saskatchewan)
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, November 1, 2017 1:16PM EDT
EDMONTON -- The Canadian prairies top a newly developed index of places where wildfires could threaten freshwater supplies.
University of Alberta geographer Francois-Nicolas Robinne crunched data on 33 different ways that wildfires can affect the quality and quantity of water depended on by communities and businesses.
Robinne says he considered everything from weather patterns to soil types.
He concludes the northern prairies from Manitoba through Alberta face some of the highest fire-related risks to freshwater supplies in the world.
Those risks include contamination, floods and droughts.
Robinne, whose work was done partly on behalf of the federal government, says planners should consider his findings as climate change leads to more and larger fires.