Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Swamp Is On Fire

For Martin at Martin's Moths and others who asked here is just a word on the wildfire at the Great Dismal Swamp Wildlife Refuge.

The fire was started  a couple of weeks ago by lightening strikes.  Everything is very dry thanks to our being at least 6 inches under on our rainfall for the year  So now there are thousands of acres of brush and peat burning. Its the peat that really keeps this thing going. Brush burns out quickly but the peat will burn pretty much underground for months. 

Its certainly generating a lot of smoke. Where that goes changes day to day with the wind, but often its drifting north over us. We are about 50 miles north and some days, like last Sunday and this morning  its pretty thick outside. The  pic below was a day with the smoke blowing out to sea but you can see the size of the plume. Thats it streaming eastward in the middle of the image. When that plume is headed north it extends way up into the northern part of the state and is probably giving them some interesting sunsets and red moons as far as DC.

As it is a naturally occuring fire then it is being allowed to burn with firefighting efforts just aimed at keeping it safe and  in the park. Fires like this will happen naturally and it is all a part of the renewal cycle of the unique environment. Its what stops the swamp just turning into forest.

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