A World on Fire- The Most Common Causes of Forest Fires
When the Earth’s Lungs are Burning- What are Forest Fires?
Forest fires are uncontrolled flares which occur in dense vegetative areas such as forests and other tree clustered area and it spreads from one tree to the other rapidly. These fires can often destroy huge areas of land and are sometimes begun by combustion and heat from surface and ground fires. The fire travels rapidly from topmost branches before consuming the tree trunk or the forest floor. There are different types of wildfires such as bushfires, desert fire, forest fire, grass fire, hill fire, peat fire, vegetation fire, or veld fire.
A Natural or a Manmade Disaster?
This is the most common question that is asked when we hear of a wildfire anywhere in the world. Though it seems stupendous to think that a man purposefully hurt the lungs of the earth, the source through which the earth breaths, through which we breathe but that is the sad reality. Natural fires are generally started by lightning, with a very small percentage started by spontaneous combustion of dry fuel such as sawdust and leaves.
1. Natural Forest Fires
As mentioned above, the most common causes of forest fires are usually lightning, dry fuel or in some cases volcanic activity if the vegetation is situated near an active volcano. Due to the advances in technology, weather departments can predict lighting strikes well in advance so that safety measures can be taken to create a buffer zone and prevent the trees from catching fires. Combustible fires are caused due to the drying of the sawdust and leaves in extreme heat conditions, which leads to dry fuel combustion.
2. Manmade Forest Fire
We live in a selfish cruel world, where corporates and industry giants find it justifiable to destroy acres of vegetation which are replaced by concrete jungles, but that is the sad reality of our world’s economy. The most common causes of manmade forest fires are arson or deforestation, careless activities such as smoking or camping fires and tribal traditions. The first two are pretty common causes since the fires are either caused intentionally or due to man’s careless attitude towards the environment and sustainability. But in the rural areas of India, there are ancient tribes that believe in performing a ritual of burning entire farms, as an offering to God, so that they may get better harvest of crops during the next season.
Just a Spark, Save It!!
What can we as regular citizens help stop these disasters from destroying our ecosystem? The foremost thing to do is to educate as many people as we can about forest fires and teach them about the preventive measures as well. We can also set up a strict restriction on carrying fire-prone items when we go camping. We can take up an initiative to visit the rural areas and educate them about the importance of fire safety near forests and express our dissatisfaction against the corporate giants by starting a campaign for fire safety and ask more and more people to get involved.
Donate Your Sweat is working hard day and night to create awareness about various environmental issues around the community and rural India. We would like to hear about your volunteering stories and how you would like to get involved in saving the earth.
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