416 Fire causing damage to Animas River | KOB 4
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416 Fire causing damage to Animas River

Joshua Panas
November 05, 2018 10:01 PM

DURANGO, Colo. - A new report from the Mountain Studies Institute shows the runoff from the burn scars of the 416 Fire to have caused more damage to the Animas River than the Gold King Mine spill.

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According to the study, the highest total of iron found in the runoff was almost four times higher than that found during the spill. Aluminum was 30 times higher.

"It wasn't that surprising to me, based on the information we know about other wildfires," Scott Roberts, Aquatic Ecologist and Water Programs Director at Mountains Studies Institute said.

According to the study, the concentration of total aluminum found in the river following heavy runoff at the end of July was 37 times higher than the acute standard set to protect aquatic life in short-term exposure.

As a result, scientists report the aquatic life in the river to be taking a massive hit.

"We never experienced any kind of fish kills or mortality associated with the Gold King Mine Spill,” Jim White, Aquatic Biologist with Colorado Parks and Wildlife said. "But the 416 Fire quite a different story.”

Scientists report that all the ash and sediment that went into the river clogged the gills of fish and caused many to suffocate. According to Roberts, a good flow of fresh water this spring, following a snowy winter, should help clear up the river.

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Joshua Panas

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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