forest_fire.jpeg Wildfires

Causes


Forest fires can be started in many ways: lightning, out of control campfires, a discarded burning cigarette, arson, or even camping equipment can set off a blaze.

When a fire is started, many factors can cause the fire to spread.Fuel-such as grass, needles, leaves, and branches.Weather, including humidity, temperature, wind, and precipitation.The landscape of the area, (topography) steeper slopes offer greater potential for increased fire intensity and more obstacles to fight the fire.
more than 83% of forest fires in the year of 2006 were caused by human activities, burning about 4.4 million acres. Lightning on the other hand, caused nearly 5.5 million acres of forests to be burned.

Effects


While forest fires can benefit the environment, they can also do extreme damage-damage that will not heal on its own.In many national forests, recent severe fires have created a need for replanting.Some fires burn extremely hot... making it difficult for vegetarian and trees to grow.Severely burned soil becomes water-repellent. The ground can no longer hold water and no vegetarian remains to hold the soil in place.Snow-melt and heavy rains can cause topsoil to erode; the runoff of ash and sediment pollutes rivers and streams, harming fish and wilburned_forest.jpgdlife.Downstream water resources-including public water sources- are also threatened.By planting trees on the barren soil can help prevent soil erosion.Intense wildfires can have long-term effects on the environment, and replanting could be the only way to restore the ecosystem.In some areas, trees must be replanted to help new growth and regenerate seed sources, preventing grasses and weeds to take over.

Fighting Wildfires


There are several men and women who risk their lives to save our national forests-dropping from an airplane or climbing steep slopes toward a blazing fire.

wildfires.jpgSearing through heat and thick smoke are what some people will live for.Skylines(helicopters) will provide supplies that the firefighters will need.A helitanker(helicopter) will drop fire detardent on the fire to help control it.A helicopter will even spray water onto a burnout area.After the fire is out, firefighters will have to try to clean up as much as they can.Also, after the fire, firefighters will try to restore the frail line in the forest.

Suppression


Suppression of wildfires is basically rebuilding what has been destroyed by a fire.
Wildfire suppression can include a variety of tools and techniques such as, throwing sand or beating fires with stick and palm fronds in Thailand. Fighting wildfires can be deadly. Firefighting takes a lot of training and quite a bit of equipment. A burning front of a wildfire can also change direction unexpectedly and jump over firebreaks.

Detection


The factor in wildfire fighting is fast and effective detecting. Fire lookout towers were used in the early 1900's to detect a fire. But today, public hot-lines, and ground and aerial patrols can be used to detect a fire quicker than they use to.
Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES), Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), Advanced Very High Radiation Radiometer (AVHRR), are used to detect wildfires and find out where smoke plumes are. Nevertheless, using a satellite is prone to compensate errors, anywhere from 1 to 2 miles. Satellites that are located in geostationary orbits may become disabled; satellites in polar regions are limited by the short amount of window time. Using satellites don't work all of the time because of cloud coverage. Cloud coverage can be a problem; not being able to see if there is a fire somewhere in the world and also not being able to locate the fire plume.

Effects on Earths Atmosphere


Most of Earth's pollution is in the Troposphere, the part of atmosphere that extends from Earth's surface between 8 and 13 kilometers(5 and 8mi.) A scientific theory states that most pollution in Earth's atmosphere comes from volcanoes, but smoke and other wildfires have been detected from the lower stratosphere. By the increase of wildfire byproducts in the stratosphere, ozone concentration is more than likely to exceed health standards. Satellite observation of smoke from a wildfire shows that smoke plumes can be traced as far as 1,600 kilometers(1,000 mi).

Wildfires can have major affects on weather and on regional and global pollution. Greenhouse gases and criteria pollutants(wildfire emissions) can have an impact on human health and welfare. Many forest fires in Indonesia were estimated to have released between .81 and 2.57 gig-atones(.81 and 2.83 short tones) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is between 13%-40% of the carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels.

Prevention


Prevention of wildfires refer to the methods of reducing the risks of fires and lessening its severity and spread. Several effective prevention techniques allow agencies to manage air quality, maintain ecological balances, and and limit the effects in the future of uncontrolled fires. Prevention policies must also consider the role
smokey_the_bear.jpeg
Save our planet. Only YOU can prevent wildfires!
that humans play in wildfires.Landowners with orchards or tree farms should encourage neighboring landowners to help prevent wildfires.

Vegetation can be burned periodically to keep high species diversity, and frequent burning of surface fuels, thereby reducing the risk of crown fires. Fuels can also be removed by hand crews in order to clear and clean the forests. Multiple fuel treatments are usually needed to influence the risk of future wildfires.





http://www.arborday.org/replanting/firecauses.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wildfire