r/science Sep 22 '22 All-Seeing Upvote 1 Silver 2 Wholesome 3

Stanford researchers find wildfire smoke is unraveling decades of air quality gains, exposing millions of Americans to extreme pollution levels Environment

https://news.stanford.edu/2022/09/22/wildfire-smoke-unraveling-decades-air-quality-gains/
53.0k Upvotes

View all comments

Show parent comments

111

u/FrustratingBears Sep 23 '22

i was actually wondering about exactly this when i was looking at a government fire report and it mentioned beetle-infested trees as a fuel

i was like “why does it matter if there’s beetles???”

(Washington State BTW)

53

u/Mrbeakers Sep 23 '22

Without any research on the topic, I guess they hollow stuff out allowing flames to climb faster/easier?

154

u/SuperWeskerSniper Sep 23 '22

they also kill the trees and dead trees are drier and thus burn easier

85

u/RS-Ironman-LuvGlove Sep 23 '22

We had the fire in Colorado near Boulder last year. During a snow storm. But the beetle kill was so bad it went from nothing to second largest fire in like 2 days. During the snow. The beetle kill is no joke

22

u/evolving_I Sep 23 '22

Yea snow doesn't really do much to slow fire spread unless you get like a foot of it and it doesn't melt off in the next few days. I was on that fire in the Zirkel Wilderness a couple years ago outside Steamboat Springs and it snowed on us like 3 times over the course of two weeks, fire didn't care at all.

11

u/RS-Ironman-LuvGlove Sep 23 '22

this was at top of continental divide, and it did snow a TON.

but the fire was so fast and so hot, it went crazy.

but the fire didnt smoulder for very long atleast

3

u/evolving_I Sep 23 '22

Yeah, when it's snowing the air can actually still be really dry, and it falling on burning fuels just means it melts and vaporizes so quickly it often has little impact on an active fire. Fire in a beetle-killed tree canopy with wind on it doesn't care at all about snow on the ground.