Author: Sergi Fontseca-PCF Member
The poplars or Populus ssp. in Latin, they are a tree species typical of the riverside areas. There are many clones that satisfy a forest industry. These are grown in a regular planting frame on flat land to facilitate their exploitation. Once the female flowers have been properly pollinated, they develop a seed, which is surrounded by filaments to spread outside taking advantage of the force of the wind.
This ecological strategy employed, it is known as anemocory. The anemocory It is the form of dispersal of propagules, and they use the wind to be transported and thus allowing the seeds to be deposited and have more possibilities to colonize distant places and favors the evolution of the species (see photo 1).
To achieve this action, a dry environment is required, since if the humidity is too high, the filament system that surrounds the seed is impregnated with water, weighs more and does not rise.
De May to June when the poplar fruits ripen, they release some tiny seeds (about 2 mm. Not counting the filaments), which have long cottony hairs. The filaments, forming what botanical science calls as the painter, popularly called hair. These filaments are very bulky and become very visible in areas where there are many poplar plantations, they accumulate in the ground as extremely fine fuel, highly susceptible to ignition by any accidental ignition means.
The combustion of any fuel requires a temperature increase capable of drying the moisture that the material has by pre-heating. Subsequently, the flammable gases begin to volatilize, which when mixed with oxygen ignite and cause flames. From this moment, combustion is maintained without the need for external heat thus producing a chain effect of the flames. Therefore, the more volatile the surrounding fuel, the more flammability it will be, starting a fire that will spread very quickly and be difficult to control if the described fuel is not interrupted.