Lightning, trees, and wildfire

Lightning is known to spark wildfires.  Across the country, lightning frequencies vary greatly (World lightning frequency maps).   In the Great Plains, lightning is often accompanied by rain and therefore is less likely to ignite wildfires.  Nevertheless, mother nature does sometimes start fires here in the GP.

Have you ever seen a tree that seems to have exploded?  Have you ever wondered why trees explode when lightning strikes them? Here’s a blog post from Ian Lunt’s Ecological Research Site to help us understand the process: Lightning, trees, and exploding people.

National lightning frequency map. Available from: http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/science/Understanding_Lightning_-_Small_Lightning_Map.JPG

National lightning frequency map. Available from: http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/science/Understanding_Lightning_-_Small_Lightning_Map.JPG