Arctic dry air, freezing conditions help controlled burns

Smoky conditions (and smell) descends on Clay, Baker counties

Author: John Gaughan, Chief meteorologist, jgaughan@wjxt.com
Published On: Jan 22 2014 10:54:33 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 22 2014 10:00:00 AM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Phones were ringing off the hook this afternoon, was it about Tuesday's intense hailstorm?  Nope.  How about this morning's wind chill (feels-like temperatures) around 20 degrees?  Nope, not that either.  It was all about the ominous looking skies as the sun went down.  

It's that time of year (from now until mid-June) where we frequently we will see large plumes of smoke around parts of the Southeast United States, especially here in Florida.

Much of it is planned or prescribed to keep larger fires, that naturally occur due to lightning strikes from becoming wildly out of control.  These planned fires are often done in the wake of extremely cold/dry air.  

Why?  As you can imagine, freezes kill things, plants (vegetation) are not only killed by the freeze, but arctic/polar air is extremely dry. This rapidly changes the burn rates, making them potentially very combustible.   

And we are not the only ones who will see controlled burns, many States in the southeastern U.S. will have controlled burns.

Tuesday, you can see (on satellite picture displayed) there were many large controlled burns.  Remember, the goal of these controlled burns is to keep whatever fire season that develops, more manageable.