Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wildfires and Lightning

Here are a few resources for wildfires and lightning:

In the past, we have had fun making "lightning" with balloons and light bulbs (as described here and here)

These videos here and here and here show a phenomenon called a pyronado or a fire tornado. We'd never heard of these before, but they are amazing! They are formed by convection currents, just like real tornadoes, but these currents are made by the fire itself rather by storm clouds. Really cool!

A video about volcanic lightning

Information on ball lightning (video quality here isn't that great, but we just don't have that many instances caught on video, I guess!)

The picture above is our little demonstration of how a firebreak works. You fill a pan with little pieces of crumpled-up toilet paper. Make a ditch in the middle. Then spray the toilet paper with food-colored water. You can watch the "fire" (red water) spread slowly through the toilet paper around it, but where there is no paper for it to spread through (the trench), it stops. This is the same way a firebreak (a ditch or other area cleared of trees and brush) stops a fire---if there is no fuel for it, the fire cannot spread.

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