Wildfires Essay

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Malia Rosenlund HHPA103 Backpacking Carl Anderson September 29, 2014 Wildfires Wildfires, also referred to as forest fires, are uncontrolled conflagrations that occur in woodland settings. Wildfires can be extremely destructive and often instill a feeling of fear and panic in homeowners and those who participate in activities in the backcountry. Every year in the United States, more than 100,000 wildfires burn an average of 4 to 5 million acres of land. Wildfires can move at speeds up to 14 miles an hour (23 km/hr), consuming everything in their path, including trees, brush, homes, and even humans (National Geographic). This topic struck my interest mainly because my father is a firefighter, so I have grown up learning about fire safety. In addition, on a windy day a few years ago, a spark from our neighbor’s burn pile was blown over into our field, where it began a large fire that consumed several trees and our barn. Nearly every summer, smoke from nearby wildfires covers our city in the south of Oregon, interrupting the live of its residents and wildlife. Wildfires occur all around the world and in most of the fifty states. They are most common in the southern and western states, where heat, drought, and frequent thunderstorms create perfect conditions for wildfires to start and spread. States such as Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Oregon, and California experience some of the worst wildfires in the U.S. (National Geographic). In order for a wildfire to take place, there are three elements that must be present. These three elements are often referred to as the “Fire Triangle”. The Fire Triangle consists of fuel, oxygen, and a heat source. Fuel can be any flammable material that is surrounding a fire, such as trees, grass, brush, and homes. As a general rule, the greater the fuel load, the more intense the fire will be. Oxygen is produced by vegetation

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