Support Provided ByLearn More

Why Fires Move Faster Up a Hill than Down

Paradise, California's Camp Fire accelerated as it moved uphill. U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists conduct an experiment to discover why.

Publish Date: Topic: Planet EarthPlanet EarthNova
By Ari Daniel

Unlike the humans that fight them, wildfires move much faster uphill. On a slope, air rushes in more easily from the downhill than the uphill side. If the slope is sufficiently steep, all of the air may come in from the downhill side, pushing the flames into the slope and putting them in contact with more fuel.

Support Provided ByLearn More

Explore More

Additional funding for this program is provided by the Montgomery Family Foundation

National corporate funding for NOVA is provided by Draper. Major funding for NOVA is provided by the David H. Koch Fund for Science, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS viewers. Additional funding is provided by the NOVA Science Trust.