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Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Greenstate Podcast


7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Health

Resource Type

  • Podcast, 11 minutes, 51 seconds

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - West, Oregon, Southern Oregon

Fire Clouds

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  • This podcast discusses the features of pyrocumulus clouds, when these clouds form, how they're different from other wildfire-caused storm clouds, and how they affect air quality.
  • Students will learn about fire-related weather events, how these fire clouds affect human health, and how pyrocumulonimbus clouds can cause severe weather and firenados.
Teaching Tips


  • It is a brief podcast that does a good job of defining weather-related terms. 
  • This podcast discusses Oregon's Bootleg Fire from 2021 but the content applies to all fire-related clouds.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should know how global warming may affect the frequency of droughts and wildfires.
  • Students should understand the importance of air quality for human health.


  • This podcast could augment a lesson on how natural disasters impact ecosystems.
  • This podcast could supplement a lesson on how pyrocumulus clouds impact the environment and human health.
  • After listening to the podcast, the teacher could lead a classroom discussion on how global warming and climate change is leading to more wildfires.
  • This podcast could add to a classroom discussion about how governments can employ dry forest restoration in order to minimize the damage of wildfires.
Scientist Notes
This ~12 minute podcast from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is a discussion with a warning coordination meteorologist from the National Weather Service about the formation of fire clouds. Fire clouds (pyrocumulus clouds) form over wildfires, with smoke being the main ingredient of these clouds. A very interesting discussion about fire clouds and firenados is also included. This podcast would be a great addition to a classroom discussion on the effects of wildfires.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • MS-ESS2-5 Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses results in changes in weather conditions.
      • HS-ESS2-2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
  • National Health Education Standards
    • Standard 1: Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
      • 1.12.3 Analyze how environment and personal health are interrelated.
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