The Canadian Prairies top a newly developed index of places where wildfires could create freshwater supply risks. “We are a population depending on water coming from a fire-prone area,” said Francois-Nicolas Robinne, a University of Alberta geographer whose research has just been published in the journal Science of the Total Environment. Larger and more frequent wildfires are one of the more commonly anticipated effects of climate change, as warmer weather dries forests out. Those fires have significant effects on freshwater. Burned-over areas can be prone to floods, mudslides and contamination. All of those create problems for downstream users accustomed to reliable, predictable, relatively clean flows. They also have major impacts on plants and animals living in the watershed.