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The topic that will be discussed in this paper is the natural phenomenon called the wildfire or wildland fire. “A wildfire or wildland fire is a fire that has spread uncontrollably. It all depends on the type of vegetation that is around, a wildfire can also be classified more specifically as a brush fire, bush fire, desert fire, forest fire, grass fire, hill fire, peat fire, vegetation fire, or veld fire. Fossil charcoal shows that wildfires started appearing soon after the appearance of terrestrial plants 420 million years ago.
Wildfires can be described as terms of the cause of ignition, physical properties, combustible material, and the effect of weather. Wildfires cause damage to human life and property, but they have many benefits on native vegetation, animals, and ecosystems that have evolved with fire. Many plant species need the effects of fire for growth and reproduction. Wildfire in ecosystems where wildfire doesn’t normally occur or where non-native vegetation has encroached may have negative ecological effects.
Wildfires act on the available fuels, physical setting, and weather. Studies of historical meteorological data and national fire records in western North America show the primacy of climate in driving large regional fires via wet periods that create substantial fuels or drought and warming that extend conducive fire weather.
Things that can help stop wildfires are, detection, and suppression have varied over the years. One common and inexpensive way is controlled burning: permitting or even igniting smaller fires to minimize the amount of flammable material available for a potential wildfire.
Vegetation is burned periodically to keep high species diversity and frequent burning of surface fuels limits fuel build up. Wildland fire use is the cheapest and most ecologically appropriate policy for many forests.
Fuels are also taken away by logging, but fuel treatments and thinning have no effect on severe fire behavior when under extreme weather conditions. Wildfire is reportedly “the most effective treatment for reducing a fire’s rate of spread, fireline intensity, flame length, and heat per unit of area” according to Jan Van Wagtendonk, a biologist at the Yellowstone Field Station.
Building codes in fire-prone areas usually require that structures be built of flame-retardant materials and a defensible space be cleaned out by clearing flammable materials within a seg distance from the structure. The most common direct human causes of wildfire ignition include arson, discarded cigarettes, power-line arcs (as detected by arc mapping), and sparks from equipment.
Wildfires can also be started in communities experiencing cultivation shifting, where land is cleared fast and farmed until the soil loses fertility, and slash and burn clearing. A 1 degree Celsius increase in average global temperature could cause the number of burned acres annually in the U.S. West to rise by as much as 400, 500 or even 600 percent in certain areas, according to calculations made by the University of Washington and the U.S. Forest Service.
Wildfires not only destroy property and habitat, they are extremely costly. Very large fires easily do more than $1 billion dollars in damage, according to the Insurance Services Office, which performs research for the insurance industry. From January 1 to November 6, 2017, there were 52,699 wildfires, compared to 52,347 wildfires in the same period in 2016, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.About 8.8 million acres were burned in the 2017 period, compared with 5.0 million in 2016. As of November 6, for the year so far, 2017 ranked higher in number of acres burned compared to the 10-year average.”
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