How Do Muck Fires Start?


Muck fires start when a surface fire burns down into loose organic material. The material that makes up the smoldering embers can start a blaze long after the original fire has burned out. Muck fires spread underground and create hazards as tree roots burn and leave ground and trees unstable.

Muck fires are difficult to extinguish. Organic materials burn easily, with temperatures sometimes topping 500 degrees Fahrenheit. To completely extinguish the blaze, the soil must be turned over and thoroughly saturated. Once a muck fire causes a tree to topple, the tree feeds the flames, making it difficult for firefighters to contain the blaze.