Wildfires can poison drinking water – here’s how communities can be better prepared
The 2018 Camp Fire north of Sacramento burned everything in its path: cars, power lines, and buildings – and contaminated local drinking water.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
In recent years wildfires have entered urban areas, causing breathtaking destruction.
The 2018 Camp Fire in Paradise and Butte County, California was the deadliest and most destructive fire in California’s history. It took 86 lives and destroyed more than 18,000 structures in a matter of hours.
After both fires, drinking water tests revealed a plethora of acutely toxic and carcinogenic pollutants. Water inside homes was not safe to use, or even to treat. Water pipes buried underground and inside of buildings were extensively contaminated.