California wildfires create a mixture of air and water pollution
October 25, 2007

It could be a week or more before particulate levels in the air around San Diego return to healthy levels, and in the meantime, tremendous volumes of water are being used from both the air and the ground to put out the fires. But as that water returns to the ordinary hydrological cycle, it's going to carry tremendous volumes of ash along with it, as well as any materials (toxic or otherwise) contained within the ash. Given that at least 1500 homes have been destroyed, that's a lot of fiberglass, plastic, and other potentially-toxic material to introduce into a major metropolitan water supply. And that doesn't count the need to ensure safe air quality.

last revised October 2007