Wildfires can pollute drinking water. That worries some in the hills above Santa Cruz

February 13, 2021

BOULDER CREEK, Calif. – As the first heavy rains of the season poured across the Santa Cruz Mountains last month, emergency responders and residents braced for debris flows, road closures and power outages.

Others also feared for their drinking water. These included Boulder Creek resident Dan Fitzpatrick, who amid the downpours pictured the rain washing over burned-out neighborhoods and into the catchment system of his water provider.

“Every storm that has occurred since the fire has caused the water to run black for a few days, so I know runoff is making it into the water,” said Fitzpatrick, a former member of his water district’s engineering committee.

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