In a "mountains and valleys" type area, there is a very large fire (say, an acre or two) that generates a lot of smoke. Where would the wind be strong enough and constant enough in this type of geographical area to blow enough of the smoke away so that people could still breathe and not pass out from smoke inhalation? Would a heavy rain or thunderstorm stop the wind from lessening the smoke?

  • $\begingroup$ You could answer this by searching Google News or similar, because it happens regularly in the western US, As mentioned below, an acre is a tiny, tiny fire. You seem not to appreciate wind effects, too. In a calm, the smoke rises and the fire does not spread much. A strong wind blows both smoke and fire ahead of it, spreading the fire. However, smoke inhalation is not a major danger (at least judging from the ones I've evacuated out of) as wildfires tend to be rather spotty. But it can blow and make the air unpleasant hundreds of miles downwind. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Aug 10, 2017 at 18:10
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    $\begingroup$ A very small wildfire would be around 20 acres. One or two acres is incredibly tiny. Farmers sometimes burn acre or two of land intentionally for slash and burn agriculture. $\endgroup$ Aug 10, 2017 at 19:16

1 Answer 1


An acre or two fire is tiny. The recent fire on Mt. Graham in Arizona burned 48,443 acres over the course of approximately 3 weeks.

As a general rule, a large fire will create its own updraft, pulling the smoke higher up into the air. Any areas which can be well ventilated from the outside by this updraft will generally clear smoke. If you have a corner where the outside air can't get to, it could fill with smoke.

Rain is rather good at pulling smoke particulates out of the air, so I would expect a heavy rain to help far more than it would hurt. It also helps put out the fire!

  • $\begingroup$ Strong smoke rising into the air can forestall rain fall for some time. Then, when later it finally rains, it will rain even harder, possibly with more hail and lightning. sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/02/040227073358.htm $\endgroup$
    – Tmartin
    Aug 10, 2017 at 17:46
  • $\begingroup$ The front that brings in rain will bring its own wind, too. On the other hand, a strong wind will help spread the fire. $\endgroup$ Aug 10, 2017 at 17:49
  • $\begingroup$ I'd say tiny is an understatement. A Rim Fire burned 257,314 acres over nine weeks. $\endgroup$
    – user58697
    Aug 11, 2017 at 0:10

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