When most people think of wildfires they only think of the destruction, on the other hand, wildfires are part of our ecosystem and some plants and animals do rely on wildfires to thrive. Although wildfires occur naturally as they have been for millions of years, but most of today’s wildfires are actually due to human negligence.
The interesting facts about wildfires are wildfires can start anywhere, most wildfires are started by people, wildfires are common in the US, crown fires, largest wildfire happened in Canada, local weather affects wildfires, wind propagates wildfires, wildfires can spontaneously combust, lightning strikes can cause wildfires, wildfires in the US destroy over 1 million acres of forest, conflagrations, reforestation takes a long time, climate change impacts wildfires, fungi take over the burnt forest, wildfires are beneficial to the local ecosystem, most animals can flee wildfires, some wildfire produce fire tornadoes, some beetles use wildfires to reproduce, some wildfires can burn underground, sparks from rocks can ignite wildfires, powerlines can produce wildfires, and wildfires can only burn when 3 elements are present.
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Wildfires can be devastating not only to the individual which is directly impacted by them but also to the entire nation that can be almost crippled. The wildfires in Australia called bushfires have made a lot of destruction and due to the sheer size of the wildfires, almost the entire nation has been experiencing red skies. Although most wildfires will happen in more arid locations where the vegetation is fairly dry, but during hot summer times they can break out almost everywhere, like as it has happened in the Amazon rain forest.
If you have watched the news you have probably seen a lot of footage about the Amazon rain forest, but the wildfire in Australia which started in September 2019 is a lot more devastating and a lot bigger than the ones in the Amazon rainforest. The effects of wildfires can be devastating to a nation, and once it spreads to strategic infrastructure points like power plants they could black out an entire country, possibly for months.
One of the major problems, why people have such a hard time extinguishing wildfires, is because of the sheer size of the wildfires, while firefighters can extinguish small pockets of fires, but in general, they will have a hard time fighting the main wildfires. As wildfires tend to happen during a drought when the vegetation is dry, the firefighters might not even have access to enough water, especially in remote areas. In case you live in a wildfire-prone area, you might want to read my recent article Do fireproof bags really work ( Or do they? ).
Wildfires can start anywhere
A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire, and there can happen virtually anywhere. Depending on the area where you live, you might find that not even you are safe from wildfires. Almost every year we are experiencing record-breaking high temperatures, and only a small open flame is what it all takes to start burning the vegetation. Once the vegetation is burning, it is only a matter of time till it heats up the surrounding immediate area to instantly ignite other types of vegetation like trees. In addition to this, wildfires can be caused by wars, especially with a world ar, for more information check out my recent article What would happen if world war 3 started? ( Top 8 Predictions ).
Most wildfires are started by people
Most people think that wildfires are caused by lightning or by some other force of nature, although around 90% of them will actually start due to negligence by humans. Oftentimes farmers will burn the dried out weeds on their land, in some cases, this can get quickly out of control thus creating a wildfire. On the other hand, there are people who just want to see the world burn and they start a wildfire.
Wildfires are common in the US
The frequency of wildfires are fairly high in the US, from the 50 states, 38 of them have regular wildfires. If you live in California, you probably already know that wildfires occur every summer and that California had most of the devastating wildfires. Texas is also fairly prone to wildfires, although its effects on the local economy are not that high than the wildfires of California.
They are more dangerous once they come in contact with urban areas
Most people think that wildfires are only dangerous in nature, and once they get close to urban areas they will get extinguished. The problem is that wildfires are even more dangerous when they come in contact with urban areas as there are a lot of flammable materials found in urban areas, and let us not forget that almost every house is hooked up to gas pipes.
If you have never heard the term crown fires, then these are the fires that are found burning on the crown of trees. What makes crown fires so dangerous is that with some wind they can burn extremely quickly and they can spread very fast. Firefighters have a hard time fighting these crown fires as they generate a lot of heat and they burn down the crown of the tress extremely quick.
Largest wildfire happened in Canada
If you like history then you might think that probably the larges wildfire happened when London burned down, but the truth is that the wildfire in Canada which started in 1825 burnet around 3 million acres of forest. During this wildfire, Maine and New Brunswick were severely damaged and several casualties have been reported.
Local weather affects wildfires
Generally speaking, most wildfires will start by negligence but the fires might be helped or even extinguished by the local weather. During summertime, all it takes is a couple of weeks of no rain to dry up some of the vegetation, which will be fuel to a potential fire.
Wind propagates wildfires
Wildfires are dangerous, but they can be even more dangerous with the wind. Wind will often aid the fire by supplying it with increasing amounts of oxygen, in addition to this, the wind will also spread fires extremely fast, in California these winds are called Santa Ana winds.
Wildfires can spontaneously combust
If you have ever made a compost, then you have probably observed how much heat they can produce after just a couple of weeks. The more organic material is piled up the more heat it will generate, due to the bacteria breaking down cellulose, in some cases these piles of leaves and dead matter can produce enough heat for the materials to spontaneously combust. Although generally speaking this is not what causes wildfires in most cases.
Lightning strikes can cause wildfires
A lightning strike can easily ignite a tree, as it has a lot of energy and produces a lot of heat in an instant. Once the tree has caught on fire, it might produce a wildfire if the weather conditions are dry and the surrounding vegetation is fairly dry. Although the chances of a lightning strike to cause a wildfire is fairly small, but if you take into consideration that there are over 3 billion lightning strikes every year, you might be surprised how small the chances of lightning to cause a wildfire.
Wildfires in the US destroy over 1 million acres of forest
According to wildfire statistics around 1.3 million acres of forests get destroyed due to wildfires, every year in the US. Most of these wildfires are fairly small and burn out in a matter of days. On the other hand, there are the wildfires that are in close proximity to large cities, like the ones in California, which oftentimes cause a lot of destruction and property damage.
Some wildfires get so huge that they will actually change the local weather, these wildfires are called conflagrations. If you take into consideration wildfires’ data and the data from scientists who claim that global warming plays a big part in wildfires then you will see a direct correlation.
Reforestation takes a long time
You might think that the best thing to do after a wildfire is to reforest, the problem is that young saplings simply will not survive. Generally, speaking the local area can only be reforested after 2-5 years, and sometimes even then reforestation fails.
Climate change impacts wildfires
As our climate is getting hotter every year, it is not uncommon to have droughts during the summertime. During these droughts, a lot of plants will simply die off, and with a spark they will ignite fairly fast, thus causing a wildfire.
Fungi take over the burnt forest
After a wildfire, it will take only a couple of weeks or even days for small fungi to start growing in the area, provided that there has been some rainfall recently. After the fungi start growing, some plants will also start to grow but a lot slower, generally speaking, this is when it is ideal to start reforestation.
Wildfires are beneficial to the local ecosystem
Most people think that wildfires only cause destruction, but this is what is needed in nature. Wildfires will allow new saplings to grow and some trees like the Sequoia trees even rely on wildfires to open up their seeds so they germinate.
Most animals can flee wildfires
A lot of people think that a wildfire will kill most of the animals living in the forest, this is far from the truth as most animals have the instinct to flee out of the way of the fire. Generally speaking, injured animals and slow animals will perish as they can not outrun the wildfire. In addition to this, some animals will starve to death after a wildfire if they can not find anything to eat.
Some wildfire produce fire tornadoes
You have probably seen footage of some of these fire tornadoes online, although they are fairly rare. But in large enough wildfires, fire tornadoes can occur and firefighters have an extremely difficult time dealing with them as they are fairly fast and unpredictable.
Some beetles use wildfires to reproduce
There are some beetles that seek out wildfires with infrared sensors. Once they have found a wildfire, they will lay eggs in the burned wood, this way the larvae have something toe at once they hatch. The main reason why some of these beetles are relying on wildfires to reproduce because plants will produce chemicals and sap which will otherwise kill their eggs and larva, but after a wildfire, most trees will have no defenses.
Some wildfires can burn underground
Sometimes wildfires can reignite or start in a new location, this happens when there is a lot of dead vegetation in the gound. Wildfires will burn only they have fule, once there is nothing else to burn on the surface, they might start burning in the ground if there is enough dry vegetation found underground. These underground fires can burn for months or even years.
Sparks from rocks can ignite wildfires
Under rare circumstances rocks can actually start a wildfire when rocks come into contact with each other, they might produce a spark if the force of the contact was powerful enough. If the surrounding vegetation is fairly dry, then even a spark from a rock or rockslide might ignite the vegetation.
Powerlines can produce wildfires
If the power line has some kind of malfunction, it may produce a power line arc, which is almost as powerful as lightning. These powerline arcs when they come in contact with flammable material will ignite it and it is only a matter of time till this turns into a wildfire, especially in remote areas.
Wildfires can only burn when 3 elements are present
The 3 elements which allow a wildfire to burn are oxygen, fuel, and heat, take out any of the three and the wildfire will not be able to burn.
Although we see only the destruction fo wildfires, they do in fact have a place in nature. Not only they allow new saplings to grow, but they kill off any plants with diseases and some harmful insects and bacteria alike.