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California’s apple fire produces towering smoky clouds

When forest fires get hot and big enough, they can produce towering, smoky clouds.

The apple fire burning in the San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California produced these large feathers over the weekend, known as pyrocumulus clouds. The new, active flame will have acres of parched land starting Monday morning with conditions ripe for flames. The fire is only 5 percent included.

“It is very hot and dry and this area has not burned for a long time, so there is a lot of fuel,” said an information officer from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), referring to the abundance of dried plants and vegetation.

With sufficient heat, hot air rises quickly into the atmosphere, so-called updrafts. These updrafts lift smoke, ash and moisture up into the air. They are a clear sign of an intense fire.

“Sometimes the fire creates its own weather patterns,”

; said Cal Fire’s public information officer. “It reinforces the fire.” The pillar of smoke and ash can collapse and create winds that spread the flames further.

Almost 2,300 firefighters are fighting the fire.

Every devastating fire is one. California, where it doesn’t rain much in summer and fall, burns regularly this time of year. But a increases the frequency of the conditions for the spread of flames.

Nine of the ten largest forest fires in the state’s history. The overall temperatures in the Golden State were and the temperatures in Southern California were either in the first half of 2020.

In this century, forest fires in the US burn an average of twice as much land as in the 1990s. And in the West, modern flames burn for weeks, not days, longer.

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