- A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire that usually combusts in the wildland vegetation, often in rural areas.
- Wildfires can burn in forests, grasslands, savannas, and other ecosystems and are not limited to a particular continent or environment.
- Wildfires have the ability to burn vegetation located both in and above the soil.
- Ground fires generally ignite in soil which is thick with organic matter that can feed the flames, like plant roots.
- Ground fires can smoulder for a long time (up to an entire season) until favourable conditions become available for them to grow to a surface or crown fire.
Surface fires/ Crown fires
- Surface fires, on the other hand, burn in dry or dead vegetation that is lying on the ground or growing just above the ground.
- Parched grass or fallen leaves are the common fuel for surface fires.
- Crown fires are those that burn in the leaves and canopies of trees and shrubs.
Causes of Wildfires
- Wildfires can be caused by either human activity or a natural phenomenon such as lightning.
- In about 50% of wildfires recorded, it is not known how they started and they can happen at any time or anywhere.
- It is often the weather conditions which play a deterministic role on deciding how much a wildfire grows.
- Wind, high temperatures, and little rainfall can all cause trees, shrubs, fallen leaves, and limbs to be dried out and be primed to fuel a fire.
- Topography plays a major role as well since flames burn uphill faster than they burn downhill.
- Climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions are creating warmer, drier conditions.
- This result in increased drought, and a longer fire season which are boosting the chances of a wildfire.
- Countries like Brazil are burning swaths of forest area to clear land for cultivation which can result in forest fires.
- Fire can be created when a source of fire like naked flame, cigarette or bidi, electric spark etc which if used in forest area can result in wildfire.
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