ENVIRONMENT Fires raging across the American West have set records for size and property damage, badly stretched firefighting resources, and cost the lives of three firefighters. (Nat Geo News) Watch our video to see how fires are fought from land, sea, and air. Discussion Ideas According to Nat Geo News, what three major factors have contributed to 2015’s devastating fire season? Drought. California and the … Continue reading Watch Western Wildfires Burn After Years of Drought
UNITED STATES Nine wildfires are burning across San Diego County, as record dry conditions, warm temperatures, and gusty winds contribute to an early start to the Golden State’s fire season. (National Geographic News) Use our resources to make your own fire map. Discussion Ideas Take a look at the fire map above, provided by California Fire News (CFN). Compare it with this nice map from … Continue reading Wildfires Scorch San Diego
UNITED STATES The Rim Fire, raging through Yosemite National Park, is “the highest priority fire in the country right now because of its location, because Yosemite National Park is at risk. It’s not just a national treasure, it’s a world treasure,” says Dick Fleishman of the U.S. Forest Service. In addition to Yosemite itself, the threat the Rim Fire poses to water and electricity resources … Continue reading Yosemite Fire is ‘Highest Priority’ Blaze in U.S.
Did you know that more than 100,000 wildfires clear 4 million to 5 million acres of land in the U.S. every year? Wildfires, which travel at speeds of up to 14 miles per hour, can be extremely destructive, but they are truly “natural” disasters, necessary in nature’s cycle of birth and death. Fires return nutrients to the soil and also act as disinfectants, removing disease-ridden plant and insects. Their destruction of the thick tree canopies allows new birth on the forest floor.
Not all fires occur naturally, however, as a result of forces such as lightening. A majority–4 out of 5–can be attributed to human sources, such as campfires. Human error, coupled with ample amounts of fuel, oxygen, and dry conditions, creates a recipe for catastrophe. Recent years of hotter-than-average temperatures and extended periods of drought, along with some misplaced efforts to curtail critical, small-scale natural blazes, have dramatically increased the incidence of massive, destructive fires.
What can you do to prevent wildfires? Take a cue from everyone’s favorite friend of the forest, Smokey the Bear, who celebrates his 65th anniversary this year! Fire prevention starts with knowledge, followed by responsible action.