How Bushfires Can Develop Their Own Weather
“How is it that Australia’s bushfires can seemingly make their own weather conditions?”
Australia is going through unparalleled carnage from bushfires right now. But one of their most devastating effects is from a source that is entirely unexpected. The bush fires Heat up the air around them, causing it to rise. This brings the heated air in contact with cooler air by means of turbulence, making it cooler and spread. run this air becomes high and cool enough low atmospheric pressure makes clouds form. These clouds can mix with the polluted atmosphere to become unstable and eventually form lightning. If this lightning strikes the ground then more fires can occur, creating a positive feedback loop. This is How Bushfires Can Develop Their Own Weather.
Image credit mages.theconversation.com
Why Are Australia’s Current Bushfires so Intense?
“Why is Australia going through such an intense Bushfire season right now?”
In the beginning in 2020 one country is all over the news when it comes to climate change, Australia. As of writing, the ongoing Australian bushfire (the Ozzy way of saying wildfire) has already ravaged more than 12.35 million acres of land (larger than the entirety of the Netherlands) and taken the lives of over two dozen humans and half a billion animals! But what exactly is the cause behind such carnage? Well, like California, Much of Australia has a dry and hot climate, creating ample conditions for fires to break out. With the advent of climate change, Australia has seen its average temperatures grow and droughts and heatwaves become more frequent. This has culminated in a bushfire season starting earlier with greater strength, which is Why Australia’s Current Bushfires are so Intense.
Image credit images.theconversation.com
How Single-Family Zoning Is Driving Wildfire Vulnerabilities in Northern California
“Why is extremely single-family zoning in Northern California a resilience threat?”
When the city of San Francisco becomes a topic of conversation, images of the Golden Gate Bridge, sourdough bread, and brightly-colored Victorians often pop into people’s heads. However, the policies that allow for the last part is also strangling Northern California itself. Strict single-family zoning in urban areas forces municipalities to become much less dense. If these towns or cities become economic hotspots such as in the Bay Area, then prices near job centers will rise and people have to build outwards and further away to find a place to live. This phenomenon has pushed people into the wildland-urban interface, making it more likely for fires to start and more difficult for people to cope with the effects of climate change. This is How Single-Family Zoning Is Driving Wildfire Vulnerabilities in Northern California.
Why Having Plastics in Households Is a Wildfire Resilience Liability
“Why do having plastics in households make a place more dangerous when wildfires come?”
All sorts of items can burn, whether it be wood used for fires or petroleum to power our gas engines. However, one material group that stands out is plastics. When burnt plastics can release chemicals such as styrene gas (which causes damage to the nervous system). If a wildfire engulfs a house, then this can deal a great amount of damage to the surrounding community. This is Why Having Plastics in Households Is a Wildfire Resilience Liability.
International Wildfire Cooperation
“How can countries across the world unite to solve the wildfire crisis?”
Wildfires are a global problem. Whether it be Paradise burning down in California or the seemingly-apocalyptic bushfires in Australia, all an area needs is a dry climate and high wind speeds for this problem to occur. Fire agencies around the world have taken out of this, and routinely send help to other countries when a catastrophe is going on. To illustrate, in 2018 138 firefighters from Australia and New Zealand were sent to the United States to help for almost 30 days and now in return the United States and Canada are sending 21 firefighters each to help out Australia with the trouble they’re going through right now. This is what International Wildfire Cooperation looks like.
Image credit wildfiretoday.com
Why Do Transmission Line Failure Cause a Disproportionate Amount of the Wildfires in California
“Why is it that transmission line failures cause ten times more wildfires than they should in California?”
Transmission line failures have the ability to start wildfires, as in the case of Paradise. However, In California, while these accidents are responsible for starting only around 1% of fires they cause 10% of all damage (Mitchell, 2013)! This is because these transmission lines failures are more likely to occur during periods of high winds and low humidity, which are ripe for wildfires. So when they do occur, they’re much more likely to spin out of control. This is Why Transmission Line Failure Cause a Disproportionate Amount of the Wildfires in California.
Image credit https://cdn.theatlantic.com/
Mitchell, J. W. (2013). Power line failures and catastrophic wildfires under extreme weather conditions. Engineering Failure Analysis, 35, 726–735. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.engfailanal.2013.07.006
Why Wildfires Move From Treetop to Treetop
“Why is it that wildfires will move from treetop to treetop?”
Wildfires are some of the most powerful dangerous in areas with Mediterranean climates. However, How exactly do they physically spread? Well, Let’s think about this like an engineer would. We know that fire can spread very quickly when one object touches an inflamed object. And we also know that the parts of an object that protrude the most are the most likely to come into contact with others. So when it comes to trees spreading fire, it would be logical for the treetop to spread fire to other treetops as those are the parts that bend the most outward. This is Why Wildfires Move From Treetop to Treetop.
Image credit ichef.bbci.co.uk