When it comes to wildfire prevention, firefighters don't just rely on their own efforts—they also rely on Mother Nature. That's right, humidity can play an important role in helping to contain a wildfire or even prevent one from starting in the first place. Let’s take a closer look at how relative humidity works when it comes to wildfire prevention.
What is Relative Humidity?
Relative humidity refers to the amount of water vapor in the air compared to the maximum amount of water vapor that air can hold at its current temperature. Relative humidity is measured as a percentage, with 100% being completely saturated with water vapor and 0% being completely dry. Generally speaking, when relative humidity is high (over 50%), it makes it more difficult for fires to start and spread.
How Does Humidity Help Firefighters?
High relative humidity means more moisture in the air, which helps decrease the potential for fire ignition and spread. This is because high levels of moisture create a blanket around combustible materials like trees and grasses which prevents them from heating up enough to ignite. In addition, higher levels of moisture also assist firefighters by creating a barrier between temperatures which allows them to better control their fire lines without having to worry about hot spots flaring up again.
What Happens When Relative Humidity Is Low?
On the other hand, when relative humidity is low (below 30%) then fires can start more easily and spread faster due to lack of moisture in the air. Low relative humidity also increases evaporation rates which dries out vegetation even further making it easier for fire to spread quickly through dry ground cover like grasses or leaves. Low relative humidity also makes it harder for firefighters because they may not be able to contain their fire lines as effectively due to increased temperatures and windy conditions that can cause hot spots flare up again after they have been extinguished.
Humidity plays an important role in wildfire prevention. Although firefighters are doing all they can on the front lines, Mother Nature can also lend a helping hand by providing higher levels of relative humidity that help put out or prevent wildfires from starting in the first place. So if you're ever planning on spending time outdoors this summer, keep an eye on both your local temperature and relative humidity forecasts and take necessary precautions before heading out into potentially hazardous conditions!