California: How Can Fires Generate Other Fires?
The firefighters are struggling in California (United States): they are nearly 5,400 to face the flames, which have already engulfed the equivalent of the city of Chicago on the surface. These fires cause clouds which, in turn, fuel the disaster.
Above the fires of California or Oregon (United States), they form, feed and grow. These are the pyrocumulus clouds: gigantic clouds created by fires, which generate their own weather. Firefighters are well aware of this phenomenon. This season, however, marks a new record. ” I have never seen a fire that generates so much pyrocumulus with so much fallout, ” admits Joe Tone, director of operations.
Currently, 86 fires
Pyrocumulus clouds are created above particularly intense heat sources, fires, or even volcanic eruptions. They then form a mixture of brown smoke and white ice, and cause violent storms. Rain, high winds and lightning can reignite other fires in a vicious cycle. With global warming, they could be more and more frequent, and meteorologists know the danger they represent on a country scale. The American West is currently ravaged by 86 fires, spread over 12 states.