forest fires and wildfires

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

What is a wildfire?

A wildfire is simply an uncontrolled fire that is wiping out large fields and areas of land. It is typically fires that started out of a lightning strike, or people carelessly starting it, or accidentally, or even arson, that went un-noticed and got out of hand. These fires sometimes burn for days and weeks. They can wipe out an entire forest and destroy almost every organic matter in it.

Wild fires can also be termed forest fires, grass fires, peat fires and bush fires depending on type of vegetation being burnt. Note that these fires tend to thrive in very warm and dry climates, rather than the thick, moist rainforest types.

Wildfires and forests
The destructive nature of a wildfire in a forest is phenomenal. A forest is an entire ecosystem consisting of biotic factors like animals, insects, birds, bacteria, plants and trees. It also consists of abiotic factors like water, rocks and climate in that forest area. If a wildfire strikes such an ecosystem, all life forms will be lost. The air and water will be heavily polluted. The soils will be badly degraded and other abiotic elements will be affected including water catchment areas.

Different wildfires burn differently.

crown fires, surface fires and ground fires

Fires that burn organic material in the soil are called ground fires. This is a slower burning fire, usually under litter or under vegetation. They burn by glowing combustion.

Some fires burn on the surface of the ground. They burn dry leaves, broken twigs and branches and other materials on the ground. These fires spread quickly and are known as surface fires.

Crown fires burn with huge flames and has intense heat and power. They burn from tree top to tree top and spread very quickly with the wind and heat. It is even worse if they are exposed to steep slopes.

Spotting, is yet another interesting fire type. Sometimes winds blow ‘firebrands’ away from crown fires onto new areas. Firebrands are like fireball that fly from burning treetops to other new places, resulting in new fires and keeps the fires xsspreading.

Conflagration: This is a large fire with a character of aggravation, usually enhanced with wind action and firebrands.

More on wild-fires for children

what is a crown fire