The risk of forest fires depends on plant "storage"

The risk of forest fires depends on plant "storage"

Researchers from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory have examined the impact of the velocity at which plants release water during the sweating process on the risk of forest fires, and it has been found that, depending on the type of forests and the high and low pumping, it can increase the fire power. The data can be used to predict the spread of fire.

Scientists compared data from the ECOSTRESS monitoring satellite with photographs of the effects of forest fires, all of which were collected between 2019 and early 2020 in six areas, three in the mountains of Southern California and three in Sierra Nevada, which were subsequently affected by forest fires.

Researchers have learned about the water stress that plants were experiencing before the fire, and it turns out that both high and low levels of stress can lead to increased burning in different forests, for example, pine forests are more likely to burn than those with sufficient water, and scientists link this to the fact that dry pine forests are more likely to ignite.

On the contrary, in pastures and areas with low vegetation, lower stress tends to correlate with greater fire damage, which suggests that intensive vegetation growth produced more fuel, leading to more powerful fires, is explained by the authors of the study.

Like humans, plants are difficult to function when they are too hot. The sweating is used by animals to maintain acceptable temperatures. In a plant, the same process is called evapotranspiration. It combines the speed at which plants lose water when it evaporates from the soil, and the transpiration at which they release water through holes in leaves called stomaches. To avoid losing too much water, plants begin to close their stomaches if they become too dry.