Welcome to DoSomething.org, one of the largest orgs for young people and social change! After you've browsed the 11 facts (with citations at the bottom), take action and volunteer with our millions of members. Sign up for a campaign and make the world suck less.

  1. A wildfire (AKA forest or peat fire) is an uncontrolled fire. Wildfires often occur in (duh) wild, unpopulated areas, but they can occur anywhere and harm homes, agriculture, humans, and animals in their path.
  2. Firefighters also refer to these disasters as surface fires, dependent crown fires, spot fires, and ground fires. Want to make local firefighters happy -- and even better at their jobs? Bake cookies to say thanks! Sign up for Fight Fire With Cookies.
  3. 90% of all wildfires are started by humans.
  4. “Crown fires” are spread by wind moving quickly across the tops of trees. “Running crown fires” are even more dangerous because they burn extremely hot, travel rapidly, and can change direction quickly.
  5. One of the largest fires in recent history was in 1825 when a fire tore through Maine and New Brunswick, Canada, burning 3 million acres of forest.

Bake cookies to say thanks to the firefighters in your community.

DO IT
  1. Weather conditions can directly contribute to the occurrence of wildfires through lightning strikes or indirectly by an extended dry spell or drought.
  2. 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.
  3. Lightning strikes the earth over 100,000 times a day. 10 to 20% of these lightning strikes can cause fire.
  4. Manmade combustions from arson, human carelessness, or lack of fire safety cause wildfire disasters every year.
  5. An average of 1.2 million acres of US woodland burn every year.
  6. A large wildfire — or conflagration — is capable of modifying the local weather conditions (AKA producing its own weather).

Sources

  • 1

    Wildfires Article, Forest Fires Information, Wildland Fires Facts -- National Geographic." National Geographic. http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/natural-disasters/wildfires/ (accessed July 29, 2014).

  • 2

    "Wildfire Definitions." NPS. http://www.nps.gov/olym/parkmgmt/upload/fire-wildfire-definitions-2.pdf (accessed August 1, 2014).

  • 3

    United States. National Park Service. "Wildland Fire: Wildfire Causes | U.S. National Park Service." National Parks Service. http://www.nps.gov/fire/wildland-fire/learning-center/fire-in-depth/wildfire-causes.cfm (accessed July 28, 2014).

  • 4

    "Facts About Wind and Wildfires - weather.com." Facts About Wind and Wildfires - weather.com. http://www.weather.com/outlook/wxready/articles/id-65 (accessed August 1, 2014).

  • 5

    United States. National Park Service. "Wildland Fire: Historic Fires | U.S. National Park Service." National Parks Service. http://www.nps.gov/fire/wildland-fire/learning-center/fire-in-depth/historic-fires.cfm (accessed August 1, 2014).

  • 6

    United States. National Park Service. "Wildland Fire: Wildfire Causes | U.S. National Park Service." National Parks Service. http://www.nps.gov/fire/wildland-fire/learning-center/fire-in-depth/wildfire-causes.cfm (accessed July 28, 2014).

  • 7

    "Science and Innovation - Forest Fires." Science and Innovation - Forest Fires. http://www.borealforest.org/world/innova/forest_fire.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

  • 8

    United States. National Park Service. "Wildland Fire: Wildfire Causes | U.S. National Park Service." National Parks Service. http://www.nps.gov/fire/wildland-fire/learning-center/fire-in-depth/wildfire-causes.cfm (accessed July 28, 2014).

  • 9

    United States. National Park Service. "Wildland Fire: Wildfire Causes | U.S. National Park Service." National Parks Service. http://www.nps.gov/fire/wildland-fire/learning-center/fire-in-depth/wildfire-causes.cfm (accessed July 31, 2014).

  • 10

    "Wildfires." Ready Arkansas. http://ready.arkansas.gov/stayInformed/Pages/wildfires.aspx (accessed August 1, 2014).

  • 11

    United States. National Park Service. "Wildland Fire: Wildfire Causes | U.S. National Park Service." National Parks Service. http://www.nps.gov/fire/wildland-fire/learning-center/fire-in-depth/wildfire-causes.cfm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Bake cookies to say thanks to the firefighters in your community.

DO IT