Muck Fires: What is that awful smell?
“Earlier Monday, smoke from a more than 10,300-acre wildfire in Palm Beach County could be smelled throughout the Treasure Coast thanks to winds out of the south.
The fire began July 8 with a lightning strike in the Arthur R. Marshall/Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, and is about 75 percent contained, a release states.
Reports of smoke came in from throughout the Treasure Coast, as far north as Sebastian in Indian River County, according to information from the St. Lucie County Fire District and Yunas.”
This is what was reported to us and we just knew there was more to the story.
Last week we all woke up to not just smoke but a really nasty smell. There was a fire in Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, and other brush fires around. This smell was nasty and we are not the only ones who woke up to this and had to endure for days. It smelled like plastic burning.
“In the terminology of North American agriculture, muck is a soil made up primarily of humus from drained swampland. Muck farming is controversial, because the drainage of wetlands destroys wildlife habitats and results in a variety of environmental problems. It also can catch fire and burn underground for months. Oxidation also removes a portion of the soil each year, so it becomes progressively shallower. :
“A pervasive, smoky smell throughout south Lee County, Estero and into Cape Coral Thursday was the result of a muck fire in the Everglades District, according to the Florida Forestry Service.”
“Basically, a muck fire is going to burn down until it hits water,” said Sean Gallagher, a spokesman with the Florida Division of Forestry. “It burns with such intensity that it lights the dirt.”
Muck ignites from the burning brush above and from lightning strikes. Enough oxygen penetrates the parched, loosely packed peat, causing underground embers to smolder for weeks. The muck can cook and kill roots, causing trees to topple. After their leaves dry out, they kindle more brush and the downed trees themselves.
Muck is soil rich in carbon-based compounds from dead plants and organisms, usually more than a third of the soil content.
It becomes flammable when the groundwater dips below normal for an extended period of time.
Burning muck can lower the ground elevation enough to ultimately change swamps into lakes or ponds.
Firefighters cut fire breaks around the muck and till up the ground so they can see the glowing hot spots and soak them.
“Before farmers and developers drained natural wetlands, muck fires were much less common because low-lying areas stayed underwater throughout the year.”
The reason I bring this up is because Maggy Hurchella brought this up in her pleas to SFWMD this past winter. Drought=muck fires.
Sinkholes are the results of groundwater pumping. watch this video. warning language. totally worth the watch.
Florida Sinkholes are Swallowing Cars: America’s Water Crisis (Part 2/3)
Why do I bring this up? Because there are lots of clueless people managing our water and their mismanagement is hurting us. Their leader of course is Rick Scott and politics and Florida Inc is in charge of our future.
Right now they are not doing a very good job!
very interesting Cyndi. Thanks for all your work and insights.
Thank you. I had to run off to work so more reading about this. I never even thought about sink holes to be honest and i never made the connection between that and the water.