EVERY SECOND COUNTS

 

October 19, 2017

Midori Fabela

Did you know that humans are responsible for roughly 84% of forest fires? Did you know that there are more than 75,000 wildfires reported in the United States alone that burn over 7,000,000 acres and almost 2,500 homes and buildings per year? October 8th through the 14th is fire prevention week. Although wildfires can start when lightning strikes, new research shows that people start a lot more fires than lightning does. People start so many fires in fact that it is drastically changing wildfire season. According to http://www.npr.org, people have such a large impact on fires that they are extending the wildfire season by up to three months. The National Academy of Sciences has described a solution that seems contradictory. It proposes that more controlled fires need to be started. The academy calls these intentional fires "prescribed fires". They are lit to burn off leaf litter, underbrush, and dead timber that would normally be fuel for larger wildfires.

"Controlled fires also help germinate the seeds of many tree species." Said Jennifer Balch of the University of Colorado.

Although in some cases a wildfire is good for the forest, the majority of wildfires are unplanned, very dangerous to people and animals, and destroy homes, communities, plants and more. There is something that people can do to help. According to http://www.smokeybear.com, people should be careful with fire, never play with matches or lighters, always watch your campfire, and make sure your campfire is completely out before leaving. Make sure to watch out and be careful if you are around the top leading causes of forest fires which are campfires, fireworks, yard and waste burning, and cigarettes. If you see a forest fire report it immediately. In the words of Smokey the Bear, remember that "only you can prevent forest fires".


 

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