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Preventable forest fires happen all the time, and often, the fires start because of human error. Firefighters are not the only individuals that play a role in preventing forest fires. It’s important to learn the causes of forest fires and how to prevent them to keep the environment and communities safe.
What Causes Forest Fires?
With May, national wildfire awareness month, coming around the corner, it’s crucial that you educate yourself on the causes and prevention of forest fires. It’s not just the forest at risk during these fires but people’s lives, properties, and natural resources. While most forest fires happen due to humans, other factors play a role in creating a wildfire.
- Unattended campfires
- Fallen power lines
- Burning debris
- Vehicle and equipment malfunctions
How Can We Prevent Them?
Due to climate change, there has been an increase in temperatures and drought, leading to a higher risk of forest fires. Therefore, everyone must be mindful of their actions and protect the environment. Let’s look at what we can do to prevent wildfires.
Check Weather Conditions
If you’re experiencing a drought in your area, be aware that vegetation can now be highly flammable. If the temperature outside is hot, dry, and windy, this makes the perfect environment for a forest fire. Avoid any activities that involve fire or sparks. One tiny spark can ignite an arid patch of grass, and the fire can spread quickly.
Practice Vehicle and Equipment Safety
The exhaust on your car can reach high temperatures. Never drive your car over dry, brittle vegetation, especially if your car doesn’t receive regular maintenance. This can create more sparks. If you live in an area prone to forest fires, keep a shovel, bucket, and fire extinguisher in your car in case of an emergency.
Build Campfires Strategically
When learning the causes of forest fires and how to prevent them, it’s essential to know that many of them start with unattended campfires. Make sure you build your fire in a flat, open location away from flammable material and vegetation. Clear the firepit from grass and leaves, and keep your woodpile at a safe distance. Always douse your fire with water or extinguish it before leaving it unattended.
Are you still looking for ways to help? Become a professional firefighter and help create a wildland firefighter training program. The most critical takeaway from this is that forest fires are preventable. Do your part in your community to keep wildlife and natural resources safe.