Wondering Why?

Why do wildfires happen

Why do wildfires happen

A wildfire refers to the phenomena of unconstrained fire that happen on vegetations in the wilds or countryside areas. It is called in different names depending on the kind of vegetation that is burned like bushfire, grass fire, brush fire, forest fire, hill fire, vegetation fire, peat fire, and wildland fire. Whatever the name is, wildfires are usually described as wide ranging, destructive, spreads rapidly, able to change direction without warning, and has a natural capability of jumping on gaps like rivers, roads and even firebreaks.

The appearance of wildfire is common in every continent except Antarctica, and there are various reasons why they happen. Wildfires occur either naturally or through human involvement. Lightning, coal fires underneath the ground, volcanic eruption, and sparks created by rock falls can cause wildfire naturally. However, wildfire can also occur by means of human negligence like arson, wrong way of discarding cigarette butt, the practice of slash-and-burn, power line electric arcs, animal breeding, logging, and even a slight spark from any human equipment or machinery are attributed to the fire.

Considering the reasons above, the causes of wildfires all over the world vary. In countries like Canada, Northwest China, and the United States, the most common cause of fire is attributed to lightning. However, since lightning occurs together with rain, wildfire caused by lightning does not extend nearby areas creating minimal damage.

In places like Central and South America, Mexico, Southeast Asia, Africa, New Zealand, China, the Mediterranean Basin, and Fiji Islands, wildfires occur due to human activities and recklessness. And, in Australia both human and natural reasons are said to be the causes of wildfires in the area.

Wildfires are more rampant during autumn and summer season, however due to climate changes and abnormalities in weather, it can occur anytime of the year. Droughts are also considered to cause wildfire especially when dried leaves and branches from trees and other plants happen to dried out and are highly flammable.


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