Why weather conditions and fire intensity go hand-in-hand

KREM 2's Briana Bermensolo explains how there are many components to our summer weather patterns that can greatly change the ultimate outcome of new fire starts. (7-19-17)

Summer wildfire season is well underway, and it has been a busy one across the region.

Weather conditions and fire intensity go hand-in-hand every summer.

This week's weather is tricky. An approaching cold front will cool things down Thursday which is good news.

However, expected high winds and potential for dry thunderstorms are increasing fire danger concern for  local firefighters.


Here's what you need to know:

There are many components to our weather that can greatly change the ultimate outcome of new fire starts; namely the speed and intensity of fire growth.

1) DRY: Fires need fuel. Dry summer vegetation: ideal for rapid wildfire growth.

Fires also thrive in environments where relative humidity levels are low.

Very moist air can suffocate a fire.

2) TEMPERATURE: Fires need heat. Forest fuels receive heat by radiation from the sun. In very hot conditions, less energy is required for ignition.

3) WIND: Fires also need oxygen. Wind supplies that. Wind can also apply pressure to fires to physically move the flames or change the direction of the fire.

Thunderstorms developed early Thursday morning.

"Dry thunderstorms," with little rain, could provide sparks for new fires with no rain to dampen the spark.

With the passage of a cold front, winds can change direction as well.

If a fire is strong enough, it can start to generate its own weather events.

Massive wildfires can become unpredictable and dangerous for firefighters working to contain and douse flames.

The Storm Tracker 2 Team is tracking a cold front that will bring gusty winds to the region.

Isolated showers and thunderstorms are possible Thursday morning.  Little rain will reach the ground but lightning and thunder will be possible.

Winds may gust up to 30 mph, creating dangerous fire weather. Forecast winds are below official fire advisory criteria. KREM 2 will monitor winds closely over the next 24 hours. 

© 2018 KREM-TV


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