Muck fires are subsurface fires that burn. They are frequently started when rotting foliage catches fire, which is commonly caused by the heat produced by lightning strikes. The muck fire near Paul's house in Tangerine was started by a lightning strike.
These fires can spread rapidly if not allowed to burn out naturally. If you come across a muck fire and want to leave it alone, try not to create any more smoke by staying away from the area and letting it burn itself out.
Firefighters use special equipment to contain muck fires before they reach the point of becoming full-blown flames. They do this by digging small ditches around the edge of the fire site to drain off water that might otherwise help it spread. When the firefighters see no more smoke coming from the ditch, they know that the fire has gone out on its own or been put out by another source such as water or natural forces.
Muck fires can be difficult to detect because there is usually no flame and very little smoke. However, if you get up close enough you should be able to see some type of heat reflection off the ground where the fire has burned.
Muck fires can occur in many different types of environments including forests, grasslands, and even urban areas during dry seasons when there is a lot of decaying vegetation.
Muck fires, in addition to being difficult to put out, can emit poisonous gases and distribute damaging heat to tree roots, causing trees to tumble. The heat created by a muck fire can also spread horizontally underground to surrounding places, igniting forest fires yards distant from the original subsurface fire.
The main danger posed by muck fires is the risk of explosion. If hot ashes are mixed with dry grass or litter, there is a potential for combustion. The heat from a muck fire can ignite any combustible material that gets burned during the incident, causing an explosion when the flames reach something flammable such as gasoline or oil. This is why it is important to keep muck fires away from buildings and other objects that could be damaged by heat or flame.
Muck fires are common in areas where there is a lot of mud undergrowth. The thick layer of soil that forms after years of rain causes many plants to grow right up to the edge of their rooting zone. When these plants are cut back or removed, they leave only their stumps above ground, creating perfect fuel for a muck fire. Muck fires can also start if someone throws lit cigarettes into the ground, but this is dangerous work that should not be done without adequate protection.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to fight a muck fire, your first priority should be safety.
Mulch packed too deeply, more than a few inches, can accumulate heat and spontaneously catch fire. Mulch fires are more likely to ignite when the weather is hot and dry for a lengthy period of time. The space between mulch heaps prevents a fire from spreading from one pile to another or from one pile to a building.
However, mulch does have some beneficial effects on soil health by adding organic matter and reducing evaporation. These benefits help prevent soil erosion and improve water retention capacity. The type of mulch you use will determine how much fire risk you are willing to take. Wood chips, for example, burn very quickly when they first be placed on a garden site. They also produce large amounts of carbon dioxide while burning, so many people worry that this will increase global warming. However, wood chips are a good source of nutrients for your garden once they have burned up, so they are not considered waste. Straw is another material that produces large amounts of carbon dioxide when it burns. However, its high nitrogen content helps keep soil organic matter levels high which is good for plant growth. Finally, shredded bark provides an alternative to wood chips or straw while still giving your garden a nutrient boost. Bark tends to decompose more slowly than wood chips or straw and so it adds more organic matter to the soil over time.
If you decide to use mulch in your yard, make sure you select materials that will not be harmful if they burn.