forest fires and wildfires Select a lesson

Facts and tips on forest fires
What is a wild forest fire
Causes of wildfires
Behaviour of wildfires
Effects of wildfires
How to fight wildfires
How to prevent wildfires
Wildfire fact sheet



what is a fire

Factors that makes wildfires burn more.

There are some factors that combine to provide a complex web of ingredients that help wildfires to burn more and quicker. Here are a few:

wildfire causesWind
Winds direct or change direction of fire to new areas with new fuels. Additionally, they provide fresh supply of oxygen, a key ingredient of fire, to the situation.

wildfire causesSlope
Wild fires usually move faster uphill than downhill. The steeper the slope, the faster they burn. This is because steeper slopes tend to have lots of fuels in close proximity and the wind action if much more aggressive uphill.
topography and wildfires

wildfire causes
Conditions with higher temperature tend to absorb moisture from fuels and make them conducive to catch fire. This is why areas with lots of sun and higher temperatures tend to be dry and has more fire events.

wildfire causesHumidity
Fuels in locations with high humidity and rainfall tend to be damp and moist. Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. The higher it is, the higher the moisture in the fuels there and the less likely they are to catch fire.

wildfire causesTimes and seasons
In many places, the seasons tell a story. In the US, the summer stretch registers lots of fires. That is because the summer heat makes fuels drier and provides richer oxygen than the winter seasons. In many places in West Africa, the onset of the dry Harmattan Winds from the Sahara desert in the dry seasons make fires burn more.

wildfire causesFuels
The ease at which wildfires spread also depends on the fuel composition. Trees and vegetation with lots of moisture tend to slow down fires than dry vegetation such as dry grass, dead leaves, tree needles, brush and small trees. Additionally, some vegetation with high oils and resins aid combustion and makes fires burn with more ease.

wildfire causesSpace between fuels
Wildfires burn more and spread faster if there are more fuels in close proximity. If fuels are sparsely distributed or are patchy, the fires tend to slow down. This is why a common method of ending a fire is to create a ring of space around it.

More on wild-fires for children

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