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Environmental Studies

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A wildfire is an unplanned fire that rages through ecosystems. Wildfires are one of the most dominant natural forces known to man. They can be beneficial as well as devastating to the environment. Wildfires are usually put into three categories: surface fires, ground fires and conflagration. The surface fire is the most common of wildfires. It progresses along the ground, burning the forest floor as well as killing and damaging vegetation.

All wildfires need three conditions to be created. They need fuel, oxygen, and a heat source. All flammable things around a fire are called fuel because they help the fire progress. Fuel can be trees, grass, or brush. Even homes could be fuel for a wildfire. Wildfires usally start when the heat source turns the fuel hot enough to combust. Heat sources include lightning, campfires, cigarettes, hot winds, and the sun can provide enough heat to spark a wildfire. Dry weather and droughts spread wildfires because they make the green plants bone-dry so the plants ignite more easily. Strong winds spread the fire quickly over land, and warm temperatures make prime conditions for combustion to occur.

Wildfires are very common in forested areas of the US and Canada. The US is a primary place for wildfires to start because of the heat, drought, and thunderstorms that create perfect conditions. Wildfires are also likely to occur in much of the vegetated areas of Australia as well as the western cape of South Africa. Wildfires can happen easily in grasslands and scrublands.

Wildfire has both positive and negative effects in an ecosystem. The wildfire eliminates small shrubs and plants, leaving the forest better off. While doing so, it also increases the risk of erosion and landslides because of the loss of pants in the ecosystem. In addition, cleansing the forest floor of any dead or decaying matter allows new plants to grow faster, creating a healthy thriving ecosystem. Wildfires can also help by bringing balance into an ecosystem when they remove all harmful insects and diseased plants that could harm the ecosystem.

citationshttp://greenconduct.com/blog/2013/07/25/the-environmental-consequences-of-forest-fires/http://www.weatherwizkids.com/weather-wildfire.htmhttp://www.smokeybear.com/wildfire-science.asphttps://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRIj4lgFHn87YMHrs6mMqRmgFBgEYnV3eTlxbRhHShUY3Kx7vcaPhoto courtesy Bureau of Land Management(AP Photo/USFS, Brandon R. Oberhardt) #(AP Photo/The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Ron Jenkins) #Photograph by Artyom Korotayev, AFP/Getty Imagehttp://i.ytimg.com/vi/ROM1-NFQ3wE/mqdefault.jpgshttp://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/08/photogalleries/100810-russian-wildfires-heat-wave-moscow-smoke-world-pictures/#/russia-wildfires-smoke-deaths-trees-burning_24439_600x450.jpglong video by Sci showClose up of crown fire at Grant Village Junction; Jeff Henry; Around July 23, 1988



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