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An Investigation of the Synoptic Situations Associated with Major Wildland Fires

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  • a Department of Earth and Planetary Environments, Kean College of New Jersey, Union 07083
  • | b School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. 06520
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Abstract

Fifty-two major wildland fires in the eastern half of the United States were analyzed to determine the synoptic situations involved. Three-fourths of the fires were found near surface frontal areas. The vast majority of fires were associated with the eastern portion of small-amplitude but intense short-wave troughs at 500 mb. A lack of moisture advection at 850 mb inhibits precipitation which normally accompanies these systems. This lack of precipitation in association with strong low-level winds found in these regions produces dangerous fire conditions at the surface. Such situations are shown to occur rarely.

Abstract

Fifty-two major wildland fires in the eastern half of the United States were analyzed to determine the synoptic situations involved. Three-fourths of the fires were found near surface frontal areas. The vast majority of fires were associated with the eastern portion of small-amplitude but intense short-wave troughs at 500 mb. A lack of moisture advection at 850 mb inhibits precipitation which normally accompanies these systems. This lack of precipitation in association with strong low-level winds found in these regions produces dangerous fire conditions at the surface. Such situations are shown to occur rarely.

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