Wildfires in the eastern Mediterranean as a result of lightning activity - A change in the conventional knowledge

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No records exist in the scientific literature about lightning fires in the eastern Mediterranean (EM). Although thunderstorms are frequent in winter, if spontaneous fire is ignited, it will immediately be extinguished by rain. No thunderstorms occur in summer, and therefore no favourable weather conditions for natural ignitions exist. In October 2014, the synoptic conditions over the EM comprised a Red Sea Trough (RST) with an easterly axis (a less frequent version of this system). A convective storm, accompanied by thunderstorms with intense local rains developed rapidly. Simultaneously, six wildfires were reported from different locations in northern Israel (in the EM). Lightning activity documented by the Israel Electric Co. was at the same time and locations as the reported wildfires. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case recorded in recent history of wildfires in the EM as a result of lightning. Moreover, in the literature, the RST is associated with fires only when its axis is in a western position, thus driving very hot and dry air masses. A different way of thinking is needed on the potential of lightning in autumn as a possible cause of fires under different situations of the RST.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)592-596
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© IAWF 2016.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Ecology


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