How A Hurricane Led To A Wildfire

Mar 24, 2022 By Ritali J, Writer Intern
Ritali's picture

When we hear about wildfires in the U.S, we might think of states like California and Oregon.

But in Florida, the Chipola Complex has burned over 34,000 acres and led to the evacuation of more than 1,100 people from their homes.

It turns out that the damage had been magnified due to Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 storm that swept across Florida in 2018. How can a hurricane that occurred in 2018 be the cause of a wildfire in 2022?

The hurricane provided the fuel for these fires. Usually, fires only burn using ground cover and understory vegetation. However, the hurricane destroyed tree branches and trunks, which then collapsed onto the forest floor and became available for fires to burn. Furthermore, with forest canopies (tops of forests) removed, more sunlight reached the forest floor. This allowed new vegetation to grow, creating more fuel for the fires. 

Usually, a forest’s fuel load is less than 10 tons per acre. After Hurricane Michael, the fuel load for many forests in Florida exceeded 100 tons per acre. With warmer weather increasing the frequency of hurricanes, the fires in Florida are a reminder of how extreme events are interconnected. 

Sources: CNN, NYTimes

Comments

Rocket Man 202's picture
Rocket Man 202 December 13, 2022 - 8:03am
Very cool
a i d e nns craycray's picture
a i d e nns craycray December 12, 2022 - 10:07am
Jeez wow
Hello_kitty-is_cool's picture
Hello_kitty-is_cool December 5, 2022 - 6:40pm
Wow I never think it would lead to this.
a i d e nns craycray's picture
a i d e nns craycray December 12, 2022 - 10:07am
yeah!
Leilani_Ocasio.1's picture
Leilani_Ocasio.1 November 23, 2022 - 5:46pm
I didn´t think that could happen.
a i d e nns craycray's picture
a i d e nns craycray December 12, 2022 - 10:07am
me neither
Queenlol's picture
Queenlol November 7, 2022 - 12:43pm
wow
Mason_is_the_best's picture
Mason_is_the_best September 2, 2022 - 8:33am
That can really happen?
Queenlol's picture
Queenlol November 7, 2022 - 12:43pm
Yes and same
konnerbrydon's picture
konnerbrydon August 31, 2022 - 8:58am
cool and wow
Cassidy's picture
Cassidy April 23, 2022 - 8:48am
Wow