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I have trouble listening to the news when the fires go off in Southern California. It drives me bat*crazy that none of the reporters get it right. Most of the wildfire are burning weeds, not clean native chaparral. The weeds burn like gasoline, that's why they are called flash fuels. The annual weedy grasses produce white smoke. Annual non-native weedy grasses, mustard, and thistles(which is what is covering a great deal of Southern California) gives off light brown or tawny smoke. Heavy brush gives off almost black smoke. A house fire gives off a mixture of white, blue, brown and black.
So, when you see a photo or video of the fires and the smoke is white, it's weedy grass burning.
the dreaded fire smoke of california - grid24_12
All of California used to look like this by the first of July. NO WEEDS! Much harder to burn. - grid24_12
California still has a few places the weeds have not made it into. By July the ground between the bushes have no vegetation, that is why fire frequency used to be in the centuries, not every year. Weeds mean it can burn at anytime.
Seeding after fires has been incredible destructive.
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Edited on Jun 27, 2013. Authors:
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