MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Year after year we hear about wildfires that spread quickly and burn everything in its path.
Do you know why and how wildfires occur? Also, why do they spread so quickly across the ground? In this episode of The Breakdown, we will dive deeper into why wildfires spread so fast.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “wildfires are uncontrolled fires that spread quickly and can destroy homes and the environment nearby.”
Wildfires all start with a simple spark. That could come from a burning ember from a fire, lightning, heat from the sun, or even human error. According to NOAA, most wildfires are sparked by human activity in the United States.
According to NOAA, if a spark happens in the presence of oxygen and fuel, such as dry grass, bush or trees, a fire can start, and conditions in the weather and environment can cause the fire to spread quickly.
Wildfires do need a lot of fuel to grow, but with overgrown forests and thick vegetation, this can fuel a fire to the point where it gets out of control.
Weather can also make a fire worse, such as drought conditions, winds and extreme heat and aid in a fire growing bigger, faster and more dangerous.
NOAA will use their GOES satellite to provide information to help firefighters, and the general public, stay safe.
The GOES can detect fire and smoke, also see the heat of very small fires, well before they spotted on the ground.
Smoke from the fires can hamper the visibility of firefighters in helicopters trying to fight the fires. Smoke can also cause bad air quality, making it unhealthy to breath.