Forest Fires

By Daniel Arterbury

Where do forest fires occur?

Wildfires can occur anywhere, but are common in the forested areas of the United States and Canada. They are also suceptible in many places around the world, including much of the vegetated areas of Australia as well as in the Western Cape of South Africa

What are the causes of this problem?

How is it harming the environment/animals/humans/etc.?

Frequent wildfires will disrupt the natural cycles of these forests by eradicating native plant species and encouraging growth of fire-resistant plants and other invasive plant species. Wildfires can exacerbate levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, thereby strengthening the greenhouse effect that is already plaguing our earth. Further, wildfires generate ash and destroy available plant nutrients, thereby greatly effecting the biodiversity of forests. With an increase in water runoff, wildfires can engender flash flood conditions and enable soil erosion.

What can happen if we don't address this problem?

Because wildfires cause so much global warming, if this problem isn't addressed, we could experience major climate change. The atmostphere will continue to get hotter and hotter.
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What can WE do?

Contact 911, your local fire department, or the park service if you notice an unattended or out-of-control fire.

• Never leave a campfire unattended. Completely extinguish the fire—by dousing it with water and stirring the ashes until cold—before sleeping or leaving the campsite.

• When camping, take care when using and fueling lanterns, stoves, and heaters. Make sure lighting and heating devices are cool before refueling. Avoid spilling flammable liquids and store fuel away from appliances.

• Do not discard cigarettes, matches, and smoking materials from moving vehicles, or anywhere on park grounds. Be certain to completely extinguish cigarettes before disposing of them.

• Follow local ordinances when burning yard waste. Avoid backyard burning in windy conditions, and keep a shovel, water, and fire retardant nearby to keep fires in check. Remove all flammables from yard when burning.