Wildfires emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that will continue to warm the planet well into the future. They damage forests that would otherwise remove CO2 from the air. And they inject soot and other aerosols into the atmosphere, with complex effects on warming and cooling.
Why do forest fires release a lot of carbon dioxide?
When trees catch fire, the carbon in their timber combines with oxygen to release energy and carbon dioxide . Wildfires are part of the natural carbon cycle, and the carbon dioxide they release is soon absorbed by young trees.
Fires need oxygen, fuel, and heat to ignite, and removing any one of those three components can put out a fire. Carbon dioxide extinguishers work because carbon dioxide molecules are heavier than oxygen molecules.
Dry powder (labelled blue) – For A B C D type fire. Foam (labelled yellow) – For A B K type fire. Water (labelled red) – For A type fore. CO2 (labelled black) – For B D K type fire.
CO2 is heavier than O2, so easy to displace. (N2 is lighter as compare O2)CO2 does not react with fuel easily. CO2 density is higher as compare N2, so will do a nice job of blanketing.
Do wildfires create ozone?
Wildfires have been found to cause the formation of ozone. Ozone in the upper atmosphere is useful, as it protects against certain harmful types of UV radiation. However, ozone at ground level is a pollutant, and can be harmful to health.
How bad is wildfire smoke pollution on the front range?
The particles from wildfire smoke blowing across the mountains from the west have been noticeable – visually and even by smell. Those particles are teaming up with ozone pollution prevalent on the Front Range Thursday. “Pick your poison. Do you want to get run over by a bus or a truck? Both are really bad for your health,” Gabi Pfister said.
Do Wildfires affect ground-level ozone levels?
A recent study conducted at the National Center for Atmospheric Research found that distant wildfires can raise ground-level ozone concentrations to unhealthy levels even at large distances from the fire location. The study, led by Gabriele Pfister, tracked the effect of fires in southern California in 2007 on surface ozone levels.
Ozone damages plant leaves, potentially reducing growth. For these reasons, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets strict limits on ground-level ozone concentrations, limits that were exceeded in southern California during the October 2007 fires. But were the fires really responsible for the rise in ground-level ozone?
What is ozone and why is it important?
Ozone in the upper atmosphere is useful, as it protects against certain harmful types of UV radiation. However, ozone at ground level is a pollutant, and can be harmful to health. Wildfires have been found to cause ozone levels to rise at ground level, which is undesirable.