JWMS Newspaper Club
The Danger of Forest Fires by Sophie N.
Updated: Feb 5, 2021
Forest fires can happen anywhere, but they mostly happen in the forest areas around Canada, the United States, and some vegetated areas in Australia.
In 2018, the California wildfires destroyed nearly 2 million acres, and sadly there were more than 100 deaths as a result.
Forest fires can be naturally caused or caused by humans. Natural fires are typically started by lightning, but on the rare occasion, sawdust and dry leaves can sometimes catch fire. Forest fires caused by humans are started by burnings or sparks from equipment, railroads, power lines, smoking, fireworks, and campfires.
Forest fires can cause damage to people's homes, wildlife habitats, and timber, and they can also pollute the air we breathe because they release carbon dioxide (a green-house gas), which can negatively impact our health. Forest fires can also cause climate change, and the ashes from the fires destroy a lot of the nutrients and erode the soil.
Surprisingly, forest fires can also be beneficial to forest management because they remove low growing underbrush, clean the forest floor of debris, open up forests to sunlight, and nourish the soil. However, these burnings that are helpful to the environment do not spread out of control and completely destroy a forest.
Three ways we can stop damaging wildfires from spreading are to grow fire resistant plants, create empty spaces between trees and shrubs so the fires can´t leap from one to another, and trim dead branches on trees.