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March 28, 2017

After a wildfire is extinguished, which secondary effects can occur?

  1. Debris flows
  2. Dust storms
  3. Invasive species
  4. Changes to water quality
  5. All of the above … and more
  6. Nothing to be concerned about

To see the answer, scroll down below the image.

Image: Burned Trees after wildfire in Gila National Forest
Burned trees along the trail into Hummingbird Saddle, Gila National Forest, New Mexico. Photograph credit: Mike Sanders, USGS


The correct answer is all of the above. Once the smoke clears, the danger is not over. Secondary effects of wildfires can be equally devastating. These include debris flows, dust storms, invasive species, erosion and changes in water and air quality. Awareness of these secondary effects is critical to public safety. As fires are contained, USGS scientists help to assess their aftermath to guide the rebuilding of more resilient communities and the restoration of ecosystems.

Learn more about the USGS role.

"Hazard a Guess?" is an ongoing series, so check out past questions and come back soon for more. Don't forget to share these with friends and family to help raise awareness of natural hazards.