- A wildfires (AKA forest or peat fires) are uncontrolled fires. Often wildfires occur in wild, unpopulated areas, but they can occur anywhere and destroy homes, agriculture, humans, and animals in their path.
- Firefighters refer to these disasters as surface fires, dependent crown fires, running crown fires, spot fires, and ground fires.
- “Running crown fires” are a firefighter’s worst nightmare because they burn extremely hot, travel rapidly, and can change direction quickly.
- The most dangerous aspect of running crown fires are the convection currents which produce massive fire storms and tornadoes. These subsequent storms can send embers well ahead of the main fire front, causing spot fires that in turn can start new fires in other directions.
- Weather conditions can directly contribute to the occurrence of wildfires through lightning strikes or indirectly by an extended dry spell or drought.
- Wildfires can be caused by an accumulation of dead matter (leaves, twigs, and trees) that can create enough heat in some instances to spontaneously combust and ignite the surrounding area.
- Lightning strikes the earth over 100,000 times a day. 10 to 20 percent of these lightning strikes can cause fire.
- The number one reason for wildfires in the U.S. is mankind. Man-made combustions from arson, human carelessness, or lack of fire safety cause wildfire disasters every year.
- More than 80 percent of all wildfires are started by humans.
- An average of 1.2 million acres of U.S. woodland burn every year.
- A large wildfire — or conflagration — is capable of modifying the local weather conditions (AKA producing it’s own weather).
Be prepared for a wildfire in your area. GO
Sources: Virginia Department of Forestry, Haines Index to Hotspot, Weather.com