There are different types of firefighters that have special training to help prevent and extinguish fires. Some fight structure fires, while others fight forest fires. Both types of fires are very dangerous. Wildfires can start by natural causes, but many are started by careless humans. The natural causes include lightning and spontaneous combustion. The human causes are cigarettes that are not properly extinguished, campfires and brush fires left unattended. Building small, personal fires can easily start a wildfire when sparks and embers jump to nearby trees and shrubs.
Each year, wildfires average 75,000 in the U.S.! In order for a fire to start and continue burning you must have heat, oxygen, and fuel to complete the fire triangle. Dry brush and wood make perfect tinder for a fire. Therefore, wildfires are most dangerous when the weather is hot, dry, and windy. A wildfire is one of the most dangerous natural forces on Earth! Here a Forest Ranger has a few things to say about wildfires and safety:
How does lightning cause a wildfire?
“Wildfires can be caused when lightning strikes an object in the forest. Usually this occurs when the lightning bolt strikes a tree or an object on the ground during a period of dry lightning or a thunderstorm with little or no rainfall,” states a Forest Ranger. “The electricity discharges into the tree or an object igniting the available fuels. Sometimes the fire can smolder in the duff layer surrounding the tree’s root system for several days until conditions allow it to escape and develop into a larger wildfire.”
- Humans are the main cause of wildfires. What are some ways to help prevent humans from starting wildfires?
“Smokey Bear says that 9 out of 10 wildfires are caused by humans. For 70 years he has been teaching us his ABC’s:
Always Be Careful with Fire.
Smokey also has five safety rules for fire prevention:
- Only YOU can prevent wildfires.
- Always Be Careful with fire.
- Never play with matches or lighters.
- Always watch your campfire.
- Make sure your campfire is completely out before leaving it.
- What are some ways to know if your campfire is completely out?
“Smokey Bear recommends a bucket of water to drown your campfire and a shovel to stir the ashes to make sure they are out cold.”
- What is Smokey Bear’s famous saying?
“Only you can prevent wildfires!”
For additional facts and fun games join Smokey at his personal website; www.smokeybear.com.