Muck Fire Facts: Here's Everything About These Underground Fires | Kidadl


Muck Fire Facts: Here's Everything About These Underground Fires

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Muck fires are types of underground fires that can suddenly start and burn at extremely high temperatures.

This kind of wildfire usually burns under the ground and doesn't disturb people or the environment. However, in some cases, these fires can reach the surface and cause damage.

The ground beneath our feet is a rich source of organic material. This organic material is also known as peat, and it sometimes ignites and starts burning under the ground. It's kind of frightening, isn't it?

One of the main problems with such disasters is that they are extremely hard to predict. They cannot be contained until they spread across the surface and start causing damage. This article will take you through the basic details, like where they occur and their dangers.

Once you have finished reading this article, why not learn about firenado facts and facts about the Ring of Fire here on Kidadl?

What is muck fire?

The decaying organic matter that is buried underground is a rich source of natural gases. These gases can cause spontaneous combustion, making the organic matter start burning rapidly.

In some other cases, lightning can strike the surface, and this can cause the ignition of organic matter. The heat gets so severe that it starts burning other dry matter around it and quickly spreads underground. Such a fire is called a 'muck fire'.

Muck fires spread really fast during the dry season when the plants, organic matter, and fallen leaves are all dry. In most cases, these fires spread underground for weeks and months together, creating a smelly blaze that can reach the nostrils of people around the area.

According to experts, a muck fire will burn underground continuously until it reaches a water source (natural or human-created). Florida reports frequent wildfires, and a lot of them are a result of muck fires that reach the top layer and turn into surface fires.

Difference Between Muck Fire And Forest Fire

Forest fires are dangerous hazards for the flora and fauna of forests. These fires can be intentionally sparked or be a result of natural causes. Muck fires are one of the causes of forest fires.

A muck fire starts underground and spreads for several meters, burning areas under the ground. At times, it keeps burning for months and reaches the surface. Surface burns quickly spread in forests, thanks to excessive dry vegetation around them. This quickly spreads like a forest fire, resulting in a general surface fire.

Factors like the wind can lead to the excessive spread of the fires, damaging the forested area.

At times when lightning strikes and is accompanied by thunder, the lightning may strike open parts of the ground, causing the combustion of organic matter under the ground. This also initiates muck fires, and very powerful muck fires can lead to forest fires that are extremely hard to control.

The older trees in the forest are more susceptible to burning quickly and steadily because of a forest fire. When closely placed to one another, these trees catch fire from one another, which makes the fire spread rapidly.

Muck fires can turn into forest fires when left uncontrolled.

Places Where Muck Fires Are More Common

In the United States, muck fires commonly occur during periods of drought (lack of rain).

Florida is one of the top places where muck fires occur at least once every three to five years. There are three reasons why muck fires are very common in Florida.

Florida is a very dry place, and this is one reason why the state sees many instances of muck fires.

Florida sees intense lightning storms over the years. Lightning creates a spark in the organic materials under the ground, as discussed above, leading to muck fires.

Much of Florida's ground below the top layer is super fertile and made of organic material and dried vegetation that can ignite quite easily.

In 2020, some of the top states that experienced wildfires were California, Texas, Arizona, and Montana.

Harm And Dangers Of Muck Fires

One of the most logical harms of muck fire is that it may spread across the surface vegetation and lead to a forest fire. Apart from that, other dangers that muck fire can cause are given below.

A muck-created forest fire can destroy endangered and native flora that took years to grow.

As muck fire spreads underground, it can lead to burning tree roots. Even after the fire is extinguished, the trees may become unstable, and falling trees are a hazard, especially if they tower over roads.

Muck fires, leading to surface fire, can lead to damaged and destabilized ground. This is going to cause problems for people commuting.

When the roads are damaged or blocked, firefighting equipment and firefighters are not able to reach the location fast enough to contain the damage. Muck fires produce heat that reaches temperatures of more than 500 F (260 C). Such high temperatures underground produce heat and lead to a general increase in the temperature in the region.

Studies show that muck fires can damage the general ecosystem of the area. Underground heat can diminish groundwater supply, and it should also be noted that firefighters need to use enormous quantities of water to stop the spread of such a fire every time it happens.

Such a fire also destroys and kills trees, plants, bushes, and other local vegetation that grow in the area. This may lead to lower rainfall in the following year, increasing the chance of further muck fires.

The smoke that spreads from such a fire can cause burning in the throat and nose and lead to breathing difficulties for humans and animals nearby. It is especially harmful to those with existing respiratory problems.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for muck fire facts: here's everything about these underground fires, then why not take a look at 43 ever-so-curious truck driver facts describing the trucking industry, or Hokuto apple: juicy facts revealed on the world's heaviest apple.

Written By
Joan Agie

<p>With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.</p>

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