A new study looks at what wildfires do to the snowpack level in Utah.
“As burn severity increases, as the fire burns more completely, more snow accumulates in the system. And more water is held in that snow, which is important for our water supply,” said BYU biology professor Sam St. Clair, who led the research.
BYU researchers and students hiked and cross-country skied around in the mountains in deep snow over two winters.
Even as devastating as wildfires are, a deeper snowpack seems like a great side effect — at first.
“More snow is always better, but it depends on the wildfire effects on the landscape,” said St Clair.
He said it depends on the contour of the mountain, and whether it is a north or south facing slope.
Snowpack on a north facing slope stays shaded and cold longer, so the melt-off is slower. That fills the reservoirs. But south facing melts off faster, which increases flooding and mudslide risks.
“As burn severity increases, as the fire burns more completely, more snow accumulates in the system. And more water is held in that snow, which is important for our water supply,” said St. Clair. “Now we can map that information out on the landscape, and identity areas that are vulnerable and areas where there will be increased water yields into our reservoirs.”
Read the full study here: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ab5de8
Today’s Top Stories
- Susan Powell can’t be in Nutty Putty Cave, investigators say
- UPDATE: South Salt Lake DMV Office reopens after confirmed COVID case
- Zion National Park and other Utah national parks begin re-opening
- Legal expert says insanity defense not likely for Grantsville teen
- Utah lawmakers approve bill aimed at regulating ‘troubled teen’ centers
- DWR lets people take unlimited number of fish from Wasatch County fishing hole
- Connect KSL to your Amazon Echo Device
- The mystery of the Utah monolith found in the desert
- POLICE FOOTAGE Lori Vallow’s ex-husband worried about their missing children and his…
- Another mountain lion spotted in Salt Lake County