Only a few data are reported about the formation of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDD) and dibenzofurans (PCDF) in forest fires. However, the inventories of sources undertaken by several European and American countries consider natural fires as a possible source of PCDD/F and, in some cases, as one of the most important. In our work we have analysed vegetation and soil samples burned in four forest fires which happened in Catalonia in the summer of 1998. The concentration of dioxin-like compounds (PCDD/F, non-ortho polychlorinated bi-phenyls (PCB) and mono-ortho PCB) has been compared to the concentration present in the corresponding unburned material collected in places near the fires but not affected. The results of this preliminary study show very low concentrations in all the samples, both burned and unburned. Although a change in the profile (proportional increase of tetrachlorinated congeners in PCDD/F) is observed in burned samples compared to unburned ones, the absolute values of concentration decrease in most samples. Therefore, natural fires seem not to be an important source of dioxin-like compounds. These results will be confirmed with air emissions measurements in future studies. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.
- Forest fires
- Mono-ortho polychlorinated biphenyls
- Non-ortho polychlorinated biphenyls
- Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins
- Polychlorinated dibenzofurans