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Encyclopedia > Wildfire

A wildfire, also known as a wildland fire, forest fire, vegetation fire, grass fire, peat fire ("gambut" in Indonesia), bushfire (in Australasia), or hill fire, is an uncontrolled fire often occurring in wildland areas, but which can also consume houses or agricultural resources. Common causes include lightning, human carelessness, arson, volcano eruption, and pyroclastic cloud from active volcano. Heat waves, droughts, and cyclical climate changes such as El Niño can also have a dramatic effect on the risk of wildfires. Wildfire or wildfire has various meanings:- A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire in wildland Wildfire is the name of the secret underground biological testing facility in the book and movie The Andromeda Strain. ... Peat in Lewis, Scotland Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter. ... Backburning in Townsville, Australia. ... Australasia Australasia is a term variably used to describe a region of Oceania: Australia, New Zealand, and neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean. ... Wildlands are areas of land where plants and animals exist free of human interference. ... For information on lightning precautions, see Lightning safety. ... The Skyline Parkway Motel in Afton, Virginia after an arson fire on July 9, 2004. ... For other uses, see Volcano (disambiguation). ... Pyroclastic rocks are formed from lavas which are ejected into the air, as occur in pyroclastic flows or Plinian eruptions. ... Temperature difference in Europe from the average during the European heat wave of 2003 A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessively hot weather, which may be accompanied by high humidity. ... Fields outside Benambra, Victoria, Australia suffering from drought conditions A drought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. ... Variations in CO2, temperature and dust from the Vostok ice core over the last 450,000 years For current global climate change, see Global warming. ... Chart of ocean surface temperature anomaly [°C] during the last strong El Niño in December 1997 El Niño and La Niña (also written in English as El Nino and La Nina) are major temperature fluctuations in surface waters of the tropical Eastern Pacific Ocean. ...


In medieval times, the word "wildfire" was a synonym for Greek fire as well as a word for any furious or destructive conflagration. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the earliest known usages are specifically for lightning-caused conflagrations. The modern usage may have arisen in part from people misunderstanding the expression "spread like wildfire". Greek fire was a burning-liquid weapon used by the Byzantine Greeks, typically in naval battles to great effect as it could continue burning even on water. ...

Contents


Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 494 pixelsFull resolution (1731 × 1069 pixel, file size: 1. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 494 pixelsFull resolution (1731 × 1069 pixel, file size: 1. ... Trapper Peak in Bitterroot National Forest Bitterroot National Forest comprises 1. ...


Background

Lava flow on the coastal plain of Kīlauea, Hawaii (island) generated wildfire. This kind of fire cannot be easily prevented or suppressed.
Lava flow on the coastal plain of Kīlauea, Hawaii (island) generated wildfire. This kind of fire cannot be easily prevented or suppressed.

Wildfires are common in many places around the world, including much of the vegetated areas of Australia as well as the veld in the interior and the fynbos in the Western Cape of South Africa. The forested areas of the United States and Canada are also susceptible to wildfires. The climates are sufficiently moist to allow the growth of trees, but feature extended dry, hot periods. Fires are particularly prevalent in the summer and fall, and during droughts when fallen branches, leaves, and other material can dry out and become highly flammable. Wildfires are also common in grasslands and scrublands. Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 533 pixelsFull resolution (3888 × 2592 pixel, file size: 7. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 533 pixelsFull resolution (3888 × 2592 pixel, file size: 7. ... Look up lava, Aa, pahoehoe in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Kīlauea is an active volcano in the Hawaiian Islands, one of five shield volcanoes that together form the Island of Hawaii. ... The Island of Hawaiʻi (called the Big Island or Hawaiʻi proper) is one of eight main islands that make up the U.S. state of Hawaiʻi. ... The term Veld, or Veldt, refers primarily (but not exclusively) to the wide open rural spaces of South Africa or southern Africa and in particular to certain flatter areas or districts covered in grass or low scrub. ... Fynbos is the natural shrubland vegetation occurring in a small belt of the Western Cape of South Africa, mainly in winter rainfall coastal and mountainous areas with a Mediterranean climate. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Fields outside Benambra, Victoria, Australia suffering from drought conditions A drought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. ...


Wildfires tend to be most common and severe during years of drought and occur on days of strong winds. With extensive urbanization of wildlands, these fires often involve destruction of suburban homes located in the wildland urban interface, a zone of transition between developed areas and undeveloped wildland.


Today it is accepted that wildfires are a natural part of the ecosystem of wildlands, where plants have evolved to survive fires by a variety of strategies (from possessing reserve shoots that sprout after a fire, to fire-resistant seeds), or even encourage fire (for example eucalypts contain flammable oils in their leaves) as a way to eliminate competition from less fire-tolerant species. In 2004, researchers discovered that exposure to smoke from burning plants actually promotes germination in other types of plants by inducing the production of the orange butenolide. Most native animals, too, are adept at surviving wildfires. A coral reef near the Hawaiian islands is an example of a complex marine ecosystem. ... A ripe red jalapeño cut open to show the seeds For other uses, see Seed (disambiguation). ... Eucalypts are tree species belonging to three closely related genera, Angophora, Corymbia and Eucalyptus. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Not to be confused with Gemination in phonetics. ... The simplest butenolide, 2-furanone. ...


On occasions, wildfires have caused large-scale damage to private or public property, destroying many homes and causing deaths, particularly when they have reached urban-fringe communities.


Behavior

A massive forest fire
A massive forest fire
Charred landscape following a fire in the North Cascades.

The evaporation of water in plants are balanced by water absorbed from the soil. Below this threshold, the plants dry out and under stress release the flammable gas ethylene. A consequence of a long hot and dry period is therefore that the air contains flammable essences and plants are drier and highly flammable. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (674x1016, 337 KB) forestfire5 From: http://firepix. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (674x1016, 337 KB) forestfire5 From: http://firepix. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1874x1398, 2571 KB) Summary Charred forest following a fire in the North Cascades, Washington. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1874x1398, 2571 KB) Summary Charred forest following a fire in the North Cascades, Washington. ... “Cascades” redirects here. ... Ethylene (or IUPAC name ethene) is the chemical compound with the formula C2H4. ...


The propagation of the fire has three mechanisms:

  • "crawling" fire: the fire spreads via low level vegetation (e.g., bushes)
  • "crown" fire: a fire that "crowns" (spreads to the top branches of trees) can spread at an incredible pace through the top of a forest. Crown fires can be extremely dangerous to all inhabitants underneath, as they may spread faster than they can be outrun, particularly on windy days. (see Firestorm)
  • "jumping" or "spotting" fire: burning branches and leaves are carried by the wind and start distant fires; the fire can thus "jump" over a road, river, or even a firebreak.

The Nevada Bureau of Land Management identifies several different wildfire behaviors. For example, extreme fire behavior includes wide rates of spread, prolific crowning and/or spotting, the presence of fire whirls, or a strong convection column. Extreme wildfires behave erratically and unpredictably. This article does not cite its references or sources. ... A firebreak is a usually-man-made gap in vegetation that is expected to slow or stop the progress of wildfires. ... A fire whirl is a phenomenon in which a fire, under certain conditions (depending on air temperature and currents), forms a whirl, or a tornado-like effect. ... Convection in the most general terms refers to the internal movement of currents within fluids (i. ...


In southern California, under the influence of Santa Ana winds, wildfires can move at tremendous speeds, up to 40 miles (60 km) in a single day, consuming up to 1,000 acres (4 km²) per hour. Dense clouds of burning embers push relentlessly ahead of the flames crossing firebreaks without pause. Official language(s) English Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Largest metro area Greater Los Angeles Area  Ranked 3rd  - Total 158,302 sq mi (410,000 km²)  - Width 250 miles (400 km)  - Length 770 miles (1,240 km)  - % water 4. ... Santa Ana Winds may refer to: 1. ...

Propagation of the fire with a characteristic shape of a "pear"
Propagation of the fire with a characteristic shape of a "pear"

The powerful updraft caused by a large wildfire will draw in air from surrounding areas. These self-generated winds can lead to a phenomenon known as a firestorm. Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ...


French models of wildfires dictate that a fire's front line will take on the characteristic shape of a pear; the major axis being aligned with the wind. In the case of the fires in southeastern France, the speed of the fire is estimated to be 3% to 8% of the speed of the wind, depending on the conditions (density and type of vegetation, slope). Other models predict an elliptical shape when the ground is flat and the vegetation is homogeneous. For other uses, see Wind (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Ellipse (disambiguation). ...


Another type of wildfire is the smouldering fire. It involves the slow combustion of surface fuels without generating flame, spreading slowly and steadily. It can linger for days or weeks after flaming has ceased, resulting in potential large quantities of fuel consumed and becoming a global source of emissions to the atmosphere. It heats the duff and mineral layers, affecting the roots, seeds and plant stems at the ground. Smouldering (or smoldering in American spelling) combustion is a flameless form of combustion, deriving its heat from reactions occurring on the surface of a solid fuel when heated in an oxidizing environment. ... Flame generated by the burning of a candle. ... Air pollution is a chemical, particulate matter, or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere. ... Duff may refer to: // Wildfire terminology The layer of decomposing organic materials that resides between the mineral soil and the litter layer of freshly fallen twigs, needles, and leaves. ... A soil profile is a cross section through the soil which reveals its horizons (layers). ... For other uses, see Root (disambiguation). ... A ripe red jalapeño cut open to show the seeds For other uses, see Seed (disambiguation). ... Stem showing internode and nodes plus leaf petiole and new stem rising from node. ...


Since 1997, in Kalimantan and East Sumatra, Indonesia, there is a type of continuous smouldering fire on the peat bogs that burn underground for years without any supply of oxygen. The underground fire ignited new forest fire each year during dry season.


Prevention

Forest fire danger level (Los Alamos, New Mexico). When danger level is Extreme, a red flag is flown.
Forest fire danger level (Los Alamos, New Mexico). When danger level is Extreme, a red flag is flown.

For many decades the policy of the United States Forest Service was to suppress all fires. This policy was epitomized by the mascot Smokey Bear and was also the basis of parts of the movie Bambi. The policy began to be questioned in the 1960s, when it was realized that no new Giant Sequoia had been grown in the forests of California, because fire is an essential part of their life cycle. This produced the policy of controlled burns to reduce underbrush. This clears much of the undergrowth through forest and woodland areas, making travel and hunting much easier while reducing the risk of dangerous high-intensity fires caused by many years of fuel buildup. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1517x1060, 111 KB) Picture taken by me of forest fire danger levels. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1517x1060, 111 KB) Picture taken by me of forest fire danger levels. ... Los Alamos is an unincorporated townsite in Los Alamos County, New Mexico. ... Logo of the U.S. Forest Service. ... Smokey Bear. ... This article is about the 1942 Walt Disney film. ... Binomial name Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindl. ... Firing the woods in a South Carolina forest with a custom made igniter mounted on an all terrain vehicle. ... This article is about the hunting of prey by human society. ...


The previous policy of absolute fire suppression in the United States has resulted in the buildup of fuel in some ecosystems such as dry ponderosa pine forests. However, this concept has been misapplied in a "one-size-fits-all" application to other ecosystems such as California chaparral. Fire suppression in southern California has had very little impact over the past century. The amount of land burned in 6 southern California counties has been relatively unchanged. In fact, fire frequency has been increasing dramatically over the past century in lock step with population growth. Urbanization can also result in fuel buildup and devastating fires, such as those in Los Alamos, New Mexico, East Bay Hills, within the California cities of Oakland and Berkeley between October 19 and 22, 1991, all over Colorado in 2002, and throughout southern California in October 2003. Homes designed without considering the fire prone environment in which they are built have been the primary reason for the catastrophic losses experienced in wildfires. Binomial name Pinus ponderosa Douglas ex C. Lawson Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) is a widespread and very variable pine native to western North America. ... Los Alamos is an unincorporated townsite in Los Alamos County, New Mexico. ... The Oakland Hills Firestorm occurred on Sunday October 20, 1991. ... “Oakland” redirects here. ... Berkeley is a city on the east shore of San Francisco Bay in northern California, in the United States. ... is the 292nd day of the year (293rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


On average, wildfires burn 4.3 million acres (17,000 km²) in the United States annually. In recent years the federal government has spent $1 billion a year on fire suppression. 2002 was a record year for fires with major fires in Arizona, California, Colorado, and Oregon. Official language(s) English Spoken language(s) English 74. ... Official language(s) English Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Largest metro area Greater Los Angeles Area  Ranked 3rd  - Total 158,302 sq mi (410,000 km²)  - Width 250 miles (400 km)  - Length 770 miles (1,240 km)  - % water 4. ... Official language(s) English Capital Denver Largest city Denver Largest metro area Denver-Aurora Metro Area Area  Ranked 8th  - Total 104,185 sq mi (269,837 km²)  - Width 280 miles (451 km)  - Length 380 miles (612 km)  - % water 0. ... Official language(s) (none)[1] Capital Salem Largest city Portland Area  Ranked 9th  - Total 98,466 sq mi (255,026 km²)  - Width 260 miles (420 km)  - Length 360 miles (580 km)  - % water 2. ...

A wildfire
A wildfire

The risk of major wildfires can be reduced partly by a reduction or alteration of fuel present. In wildland, reduction can be accomplished by either conducting controlled burns, deliberately setting areas ablaze under less dangerous weather when conditions are less volatile or physical fuel removal by removing some trees as is conducted in many American forests. Alteration of fuels, which involves reducing the structure of fuel ladders, can be accomplished by hand crews with chain saws or by large mastication equipment that shreds trees and vegetation to a mulch. Such techniques are best used within the wildland/urban interface where communities connect with wild open space. Prescribed burns in the backcountry, away from human habitations, are not particularly effective in preventing large fires. All the large catastrophic fires in the United States have been wind driven events where the amount of fuel (trees, shrubs, etc.) has not been the most important factor in fire spread. Download high resolution version (1024x682, 386 KB)forestfire2 From: http://firepix. ... Download high resolution version (1024x682, 386 KB)forestfire2 From: http://firepix. ... Firing the woods in a South Carolina forest with a custom made igniter mounted on an all terrain vehicle. ...


People living in fire-prone areas typically take a variety of precautions, including building their homes out of flame-resistant materials, reducing the amount of fuel near the home or property (including firebreaks, their own miniature control lines, in effect), and investing in their own firefighting equipment.


Rural farming communities are rarely threatened directly by wildfire. These types of communities are usually located in large areas of cleared, usually grazed, land, and in the drought conditions present in wildfire years there is often very little grass left on such grazed areas. Hence the risk is minimized. However, urban fringes have spread into forested areas, for example in Sydney and Melbourne, and communities have literally built themselves in the middle of highly flammable forests. In Cape Town, the city lies on the fringe of the Table Mountain National Park. These communities are at high risk of destruction in bushfires, and should take extra precautions. Grazing is the regular consumption of part of one organism without killing it by another organism. ... This article is about the metropolitan area in Australia. ... This article is about the Australian city; the name may also refer to City of Melbourne or Melbourne city centre. ... Nickname: Motto: Spes Bona (Latin for Good Hope) Location of the City of Cape Town in Western Cape Province Coordinates: , Country Province Municipality City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality Founded 1652 Government [1]  - Type City council  - Mayor Helen Zille  - City manager Achmat Ebrahim Area  - City 2,499 km²  (964. ...


There are quite a few US states, Canadian provinces and many countries around the world that still use Fire lookouts as a means of early detection of forest fires. Some nations still using this system besides the US and Canada include: Australia, Israel, Latvia, Poland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Uruguay. A USFS fire lookout on Bald Mountain in Butte County, California. ...


Wildfire detection

A fast and effective wildfire detection is a key factor on Wildfire fighting. Recently there has been a lot of technology effort to create automatic solutions for early wildfire detection. However the best way seems to be an INTEGRATED APPROACH, based on a practical combination of different detection systems, depending on wildfire risk and the size of the area.

SOLUTIONS SIZE AREA RISK LEVEL DETECTION WITHIN PRODUCERS
AERO-SATELLITE VERY LARGE [> 250.000acre] LOW 30acre (12ha) NASA
INFRARED/SMOKE SCANNERS MEDIUM SIZE [10.000-250.000acre] MEDIUM 3 acre (2,4 ha) IQ wireless GmbH
LOCAL SENSOR NETWORK LITTLE AREA [<10.000acre] HIGH 150 sq foot (15 mq) Minteos srl


A careful GIS data analysis will suggest how to divide the area in sub-categories based on different risk level and human presence (which imply a higher wildfire risk and a need for earlier intervention).

  • Little high risk area (thick vegetation, strong human presence or close to critical urban area) could be monitored using Local sensor network.

Even if it is a relatively new approach, it seems to be the only solution able to penetrate thick vegetation, to guaranty a very early detection without fake alarm and to detect crawling wildfires. The main limit of this technology is cost that at this time limit the application to little area.

  • Medium risk and wider area could be monitored by Infrared Scanning Towers.

They present some disadvantages ("blind" to obstacles like thick vegetation, therefore could miss crawling wildfires for a long time and have still frequent fake alarms), but are certainly the best approach to wider area. Smoke and hot-air-column scanners have the advantage of "looking higher" being virtually able to locate a wildfire of any size, but are underperforming during strong wind (which ironically are the riskier situation).

  • Satellite and aero monitoring could help providing a wider view and could be sufficient to monitor very large and low risk area.

Many studies have been done in this field some providing interesting results. Limits are the long distance in Geostationary Satellites and the little window of observation time in polar satellites.


Fire suppression

A MAFFS-equipped Air National Guard C-130 Hercules drops fire retardant on wildfires in Southern California
A MAFFS-equipped Air National Guard C-130 Hercules drops fire retardant on wildfires in Southern California

Wildland fire suppression is a unique aspect of firefighting. Most fire-prone areas have large firefighter services to help control bushfires. As well as the water-spraying fire apparatus most commonly used in urban firefighting, bushfire services use a variety of alternative techniques. Typically, forest fire fighting organizations will use large crews of 20 or more people who travel in trucks to the fire. These crews use heavier equipment to construct firebreaks, and are the mainstay of most firefighting efforts. Other personnel are organized into fast attack teams typically consisting of 5–8 people. These fast attack teams are helicoptered into smaller fires or hard to reach areas as a preemptive strike force. They use portable pumps to douse small fires and chainsaws to construct firebreaks or helicopter landing pads if more resources are required. Hand tools are commonly used to construct firebreaks and remove fuels around the perimeter of the fire to halt its spread, including shovels, rakes, and the pulaski, a tool unique to wildland firefighting. In the eastern United States, portable leaf blowers are sometimes used. In the western United States, large fires often become extended campaigns, and temporary fire camps are constructed to provide food, showers, and rest to fire crews. These large fires are often handled by 20 person hand crews, sometimes known as hotshot crews, specially organized to travel to large fires. The 2003 Okanagan Mountain Park Fire was a large forest fire that took place in British Columbia, Canada in 2003. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1205x800, 252 KB) An ANG C-130 fights wildfires in Southern California Source: http://www. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1205x800, 252 KB) An ANG C-130 fights wildfires in Southern California Source: http://www. ... A MAFFS-equipped Air National Guard C-130 Hercules drops fire retardant on wildfires in southern California The Modular Airborne FireFighting System or MAFFS is a self-contained unit used for aerial firefighting that can be loaded onto a military cargo transport, typically a C-130 Hercules, which then allows... The Air National Guard (ANG) is part of the United States National Guard and a reserve component of the United States Air Force (USAF). ... The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop cargo aircraft and the main tactical airlifter for many military forces worldwide. ... A fire retardant is a substance that helps to delay or prevent combustion. ... The 2003 Okanagan Mountain Park Fire was a large forest fire that took place in British Columbia, Canada in 2003. ... Firefighter with an axe A firefighter, sometimes still called a fireman though women have increasingly joined firefighting units, is a person who is trained and equipped to put out fires, rescue people and in some areas provide emergency medical services. ... A fire engine of the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, England. ... For other uses, see Helicopter (disambiguation). ... This article is about a mechanical device. ... For other uses, see Chainsaw (disambiguation). ... The pulaski is a special hand tool used in wildland firefighting. ... Members of the Flathead Hotshot crew, a crew of approximately 20 highly skilled firefighters specially trained in wildland fire suppression tactics. ...


Fast attack teams, such as the Boise District BLM Helitack crew, are often considered the elite of firefighting forces, as they sometimes deploy in unusual ways. If the fire is on a particularly steep hill or in a densely wooded area, they may rappel or fast-rope down from helicopters. If the fire is extremely remote, firefighters known as smokejumpers may parachute into site from fixed-wing aircraft. In addition to the aircraft used for deploying ground personnel, firefighting outfits often possess helicopters and water bombers specially equipped for use in aerial firefighting. These aircraft can douse areas that are inaccessible to ground crews and deliver greater quantities of water and/or flame retardant chemicals. Managing all of these various resources over such a large area in often very rugged terrain is extremely challenging, and often the Incident Command System is used. As such, each fire will have a designated Incident Commander who oversees and coordinates all the operations on the fire. This Incident Commander is ultimately responsible for the safety of the firefighters and for the success of firefighting efforts. In British English, abseiling (from the German abseilen, to rope down) is the process of descending on a fixed rope. ... Marines fast rope out of a CH-46E Sea Knight Helicopter. ... A smokejumper is a firefighter who parachutes into a remote area to combat wildfires. ... This article is about the device. ... “Flying Machine” redirects here. ... An Air National Guard C-130 Hercules drops fire retardant on wildfires in Southern California Aerial firefighting is a method to combat wildfires using aircraft. ... Bombardier CL-415 waterbomber of the Province of Québec Aerial firefighting is a method to combat wildfires using aircraft. ... “Flying Machine” redirects here. ... A typical Incident Command Post The Incident Command System (ICS) is a management system used within the United States to organize emergency response and was designed to offer a scalable response to incidents of any magnitude. ... An Incident Commanders (IC) responsibility is the overall management of an emergency incident. ...

A helicopter dips its bucket into a pool before returning to drop the water on a wildfire outside of Naples, Italy.
A helicopter dips its bucket into a pool before returning to drop the water on a wildfire outside of Naples, Italy.

Large fires are of such a size that no conceivable firefighting service could attempt to douse the whole fire directly, and so alternative techniques are used. In alternative approaches, firefighters attempt to control the fire by controlling the area that it can spread to, by creating "control lines", which are areas that contain no combustible material. These control lines can be produced by physically removing fuel (for instance, with a bulldozer), or by "backfiring", in which small, low-intensity fires are started, using a device such as the driptorch, or pyrotechnic flares known as "fusees", to burn the flammable material in a (hopefully) controlled way. These may then be extinguished by firefighters or, ideally, directed in such a way that they meet the main fire front, at which point both fires run out of flammable material and are thus extinguished. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1362x843, 240 KB) An Italian firefighting helicopter fills its 125-gallon bag (a Bambi bucket) with water from the Carney Park public swimming pool at Naval Support Activity, Naples, Italy, to assist authorities fighting local wildfires, Sept. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1362x843, 240 KB) An Italian firefighting helicopter fills its 125-gallon bag (a Bambi bucket) with water from the Carney Park public swimming pool at Naval Support Activity, Naples, Italy, to assist authorities fighting local wildfires, Sept. ... A USMC CH-53 Super Stallion drops water from a Bambi Bucket during a training excercise. ... A Caterpillar D10N bulldozer at work A bulldozer is a very powerful crawler (caterpillar tracked tractor) equipped with a blade. ... Using a driptorch to ignite a prescribed fire A driptorch is a tool used in wildland firefighting, controlled burning, and other forestry applications to intentionally ignite fires. ... A World War I-era parachute flare dropped from aircraft for illumination. ...

The Old Fire burning in the San Bernardino Mountains (image taken from the International Space Station)
Plowing a fire lane in advance of a forest wildfire, Georgetown, South Carolina
Plowing a fire lane in advance of a forest wildfire, Georgetown, South Carolina

Unfortunately, such methods can fail in the face of wind shifts causing fires to miss control lines or to jump straight over them (for instance, because a burning tree falls across a line, burning embers are carried by the wind over the line, or burning tumbleweeds cross the line). Image File history File links Wildfire-ISS007_Mosaic2. ... Image File history File links Wildfire-ISS007_Mosaic2. ... The Old Fire was a wildfire that started on October 25, 2003 in the San Bernardino Mountains of the U.S. state of California. ... San Bernardino Mountains The San Bernardino Mountains are short transverse mountain range northeast of Los Angeles in southern California in the United States. ... “ISS” redirects here. ... Fireplow cutting lane in advance of a forest wildfire, South Carolina File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Fireplow cutting lane in advance of a forest wildfire, South Carolina File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Location of Georgetown in South Carolina Coordinates: Country United States State South Carolina County Georgetown Government  - Mayor Lynn Wood Wilson Area  - City 7. ...


The actual goals of firefighters vary. Protection of life (those of both the firefighters and "civilians") is given top priority, then private property according to economic and social value and also to its "defendibility" (for example, more effort will be expended on saving a house with a tile roof than one with a wooden-shake roof). In very severe, large fires, this is sometimes the only possible action. Protecting houses is regarded as more important than, say, farming machinery sheds, although firefighters, if possible, try to keep fires off farmland to protect stock and fences (steel fences are destroyed by the passage of fire, as the wire is irreversibly stretched and weakened by it). Preventing the burning of publicly owned forested areas is generally of least priority, and, indeed, it is quite common (in Australia, at least) for firefighters to simply observe a fire burn towards control lines through forest rather than attempt to put it out more quickly; it is, after all, a natural process. On any incident, ensuring the safety of firefighters takes priority over fire suppression. When arriving on a scene a fire crew will establish a safety zone(s), escape routes, and designate lookouts (known by the acronym LCES, for lookouts, communications, escape routes, safety zones). This allows the firefighters to engage a fire with options for a retreat should their current situation become unsafe. In addition all fire suppression activities are based from an "anchor point" (such as lake, rock slide or road). From an anchor point firefighters can work to contain a wildland fire without the fire outflanking them. As a last resort, all wildland firefighters carry a fire shelter. In a unescapable burnover situation the shelter will provide limited protection from radiant and convective heat, as well as superheated air. As such a greater emphasis is placed on safety and preventing entrapment, and is reinforced with a list of 10 fire orders and 18 "watch out situations" for firefighters to be aware of, which warn of potentially dangerous conditions.


In North America, the belief that fire suppression has substantially reduced the average annual area burned is widely held by resource managers and is often thought to be self-evident. However, this belief has been the focus of vocal debate in the scientific literature. In North America, the belief that fire suppression has substantially reduced the average annual area burned is widely held by resource managers and is often thought to be self-evident. ...


A new material called "gel" (made from super-absorbent polymer) is used in California, USA for fighting forest fire. Water is soaked up by the gel and stored in layers of tiny bubbles. The gel can protect tree/house for longer time than ordinary water, because it gets boiled by the fire one layer at a time.


Atmospheric effects

Wildfires burn areas of Portuguese forest every year, obscuring the Sun in smoke.
Wildfires burn areas of Portuguese forest every year, obscuring the Sun in smoke.

Most of the Earth's weather and air pollution reside in the troposphere, the part of the atmosphere that extends from the surface of the planet to a height of between 8 and 13 kilometers. A severe thunderstorm or pyrocumulonimbus in the area of a large wildfire can have its vertical lift enhanced to boost smoke, soot and other particles as high as the lower stratosphere (Wang, 2003). Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (3008x2000, 180 KB) Summary Description: A huge cloud of smoke, almost eclipsing the sun, was the result of one among many fires which continuously harass the portuguese landscape every summmer. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (3008x2000, 180 KB) Summary Description: A huge cloud of smoke, almost eclipsing the sun, was the result of one among many fires which continuously harass the portuguese landscape every summmer. ... For the geological process, see Weathering or Erosion. ... Air pollution is a chemical, particulate matter, or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere. ... Atmosphere diagram showing the mesosphere and other layers. ... A thunderstorm, also called an electrical storm or lightning storm, is a form of weather characterized by the presence of lightning and its attendant thunder produced from a cumulonimbus cloud. ... The pyrocumulonimbus (pyroCb) is a type of cloud formed above a source of heat such as a wildfire or industrial plant. ... Atmosphere diagram showing stratosphere. ...


Previously, it was thought that most particles in the stratosphere came from volcanoes or were generated by high-flying aircraft. Collection of air samples from the stratosphere in 2003 led to detection of carbon monoxide and other gases related to combustion at a level 30 times higher than can be accounted for by commercial aircraft. For other uses, see Volcano (disambiguation). ... Carbon monoxide, with the chemical formula CO, is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. ...


Satellite observation of smoke plumes from wildfires revealed that the plumes could be traced intact for distances exceeding 5,000 kilometers. This observation suggests that the plumes were in the stratosphere above weather conditions that would have brought the plume back to earth.


Atmospheric models suggest that these concentrations of sooty particles could increase absorption of incoming solar radiation during winter months by as much as 15% (Baumgardner, et al., 2003). Solar irradiance spectrum at top of atmosphere. ...


The massive forest fire in Indonesia (1997/1998) released approx. 2.57 gigatonnes of Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere (source: Nature magazine, November 2002). During 1997-1998, the total amount of Carbon Dioxide released to the atmosphere was 6 gigatonnes. Most of the Carbon Dioxide gas is released by the continuous underground smouldering fire on the peat bogs.


After the end of a wildfire, houses sometimes experience an ember attack - an onslaught of burning twigs or branches that can ignite a fire in the house. An ember attack is a naturally-occurring event which is often responsible for houses burning down. ...


Fires good and bad

Fire is sometimes essential for forest regeneration, or provides tangible benefits for local communities. In other cases it destroys forests and has dire social and economic consequences.


Forest fires are a natural part of ecosystems in many, but not all, forest types: in boreal and dry tropical forests for example they are a frequent and expected feature, while in tropical moist forests they would naturally be absent or at least rare enough to play a negligible role in ecology.


Statistics

Wildfires across the Balkans in late July 2007 (NASA satellite image)
Wildfires across the Balkans in late July 2007 (NASA satellite image)

Every year, the burnt surface represents about: Image File history File links Size of this preview: 530 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (4600 × 5200 pixel, file size: 3. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 530 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (4600 × 5200 pixel, file size: 3. ...

  • France: 211 km², 52,140 acres, 0.04% of the territory
  • Portugal:
    • 1991 : 1,820 km², 449,732 acres, i.e. 2% of the territory
    • 2003 : 4,249 km², 1.05 million acres, i.e. 4.6% of the territory; 20 deaths ;
    • 2004 : 1,205 km², 297,836 acres, i.e. 1.3% of the territory
    • 2005 : 2,864 km², 707,668 acres, i.e. 3.1% of the territory; 17 deaths;
    • 2006 : 724 km², 178,904 acres, i.e. 0.8% of the territory; 10 deaths;
  • United States: 17,400 km², 4.3 million acres i.e. 0.18% of the territory
  • Indonesia. Sources: before 1997 from Indonesian Environmental Impact Management Agency (BAPEDAL) and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) - Collaborative Environmental Project in Indonesia (CEPI). 1997/1998 from Asian Development Bank (ADB). From 1999: Indonesian Ministry of Forestry.
    • 1982 and 1983: 36,000 km² (8.9 million acres)
    • 1987: 492 km² (121,880 acres).
    • 1991: 1,189 km² (293,761 acres).
    • 1994: 1,618 km² (399,812 acres).
    • 1997 and 1998: 97,550 km² (24.1 million acres) - from ADB.
    • 1999: 440.90 km² (108,949 acres).
    • 2000: 82.55 km² ( 20,399 acres).
    • 2001: 143.51 km² ( 35,462 acres).
    • 2002: 366.91 km² ( 90,665 acres).
    • 2003: 37.45 km² ( 9,254 acres).
    • 2004: 139.91 km² ( 34,573 acres).
    • 2005: 133.28 km² ( 32,934 acres).

Square kilometre (U.S. spelling: square kilometer), symbol km², is a decimal multiple of SI unit of surface area square metre, one of the SI derived units. ... An acre is the name of a unit of area in a number of different systems, including Imperial units and United States customary units. ... Year 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday (link displays the 1982 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1983 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 1987 (MCMLXXXVII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link displays 1987 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the 1991 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full 1994 Gregorian calendar). ... For the band, see 1997 (band). ... Year 1998 (MCMXCVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1998 Gregorian calendar). ... This article is about the year. ... Year 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full 2000 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday (link displays the 2001 Gregorian calendar). ... Also see: 2002 (number). ... Year 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Notable wildfires

The Milford Flat Fire currently burning in Utah is statistically the largest fire burning in Utah's history. It has been said by Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. that it is the biggest fire currently burning in the world. This fire has burned 363,052 acres. It is now 100% contained. The Milford Flat Fire is the largest wildfire in Utah history. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


The Murphy Complex fire now burning in Idaho has burned 653,100 acres. It is 100% contained.


2003 Okanagan Mountain Park Fire The fire spreads from Rattlesnake Island View of the fire from Westbank Satellite image of the 2003 fire On August 16, 2003 a wildfire was started by a lightning strike near Rattlesnake Island in Okanagan Mountain Park in British Columbia, Canada. ...


On August 16, 2003 a wildfire was started by a lightning strike near Rattlesnake Island in Okanagan Mountain Park in British Columbia, Canada. The wildfire was fuelled by a constant wind and one of the driest summers in the past decade. Within a few days it had grown into a true firestorm. Motto: Splendor Sine Occasu (Latin: Splendour Without Sunset (diminishment)) Capital Victoria Largest city Vancouver Official languages English Government - Lieutenant-Governor Iona Campagnolo - Premier Gordon Campbell (BC Liberal) Federal representation in Canadian Parliament - House seats 36 - Senate seats 6 Confederation July 20, 1871 (6th province) Area  Ranked 5th - Total 944,735...


The fire grew northward and eastward, initially threatening a small amount of lakeshore homes, but quickly became an interface zone fire and forced the evacuation of 45,000 residents and consumed 239 homes. The final size of the firestorm was over 250 square kilometres (61,776 acres). Most of the trees in Okanagan Mountain Park were burned, and the park was closed.


60 fire departments, 1,400 armed forces troops and 1,000 forest fire fighters took part in controlling the fire, but were largely helpless in stopping the disaster.


The Yellowstone National Park Fire of 1988 burned well over 793,880 acres (321,271 ha) before the winter snows put out the flames. (See: Yellowstone fires of 1988) “Yellowstone” redirects here. ... Fires approach the Old Faithful Complex on September 7, 1988. ...


One of the largest known wild fires, was the Great Fire of 1910, that burned in Montana and Idaho. The Great Fire (also known as the Big Blowup and the Big Burn) of 1910 was a forest fire which burned about three million acres (12,000 km²) in northeast Washington, northern Idaho, and western Montana over two days (August 20 and 21) and killed 86 people. ... Official language(s) English Capital Helena Largest city Billings Area  Ranked 4th  - Total 147,165 sq mi (381,156 km²)  - Width 255 miles (410 km)  - Length 630 miles (1,015 km)  - % water 1  - Latitude 44°26N to 49°N  - Longitude 104°2W to 116°2W Population  Ranked... Official language(s) English [1] Capital Boise Largest city Boise Largest metro area Boise metropolitan area Area  Ranked 14th  - Total 83,642 sq mi (216,632 km²)  - Width 305 miles (491 km)  - Length 479 miles (771 km)  - % water 0. ...


The Wheeler Fire, 1985, CA Burned 91,000 acres and threatened the town of Ojai, as well as other towns in that vicinity. Extreme fire behavior was observed, and made worse by steep terrain, high winds, and poor access.


Zaca Fire burned Los Padres NF, CA. It burned 240,207 acres . It is the 2nd largest recorded fire in California. NASA satellite image of the Zaca Fire taken on August 7, 2007 The Zaca Fire is a wildfire which began burning northeast of Buellton, California, in Santa Barbara County, California. ...


Siege of 1987 Refers to a complex of fires in northern CA and southern OR that burned a total of about 650,000 acres. These fires were started by a large lightning storm in late August. The storm started roughly 1600 new fires, most caused by dry lightning. Firefighting efforts continued into October, before the majority of the fires were controlled.


McNally Fire Sequoia NF burned roughly 151,000 acres in 2002, and is the largest wildfire recorded in the forest's history. The McNally Fire was a wildfire in the Sequoia National Forest which burned in July and August 2002. ...


The 2007 Greek fires were some of the deadliest in world history, killing at least 64 people in Peloponnese and Evia. Wikinews has related news: Forest fires burn on in Greece; death toll nears 50 In the summer of 2007, a series of forest fires burnt in Greece. ... Greece and the Peloponnese The Peloponnese or Peloponnesus (Greek: Πελοπόννησος Peloponnesos; see also List of Greek place names) is a large peninsula in southern Greece, forming the part of the country south of the Gulf of Corinth. ... Euboea or Negropont or Negroponte (Modern Greek: Εύβοια Evia, Ancient Greek Εúβοια Eúboia; see also List of traditional Greek place names), is the largest island of the Greek archipelago. ...


See also

Fire Portal
World War II anti-forest fire propaganda, featuring Adolf Hitler and Hideki Tojo.
World War II anti-forest fire propaganda, featuring Adolf Hitler and Hideki Tojo.

Large Bonfire File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links PropagandaHitlerTojo. ... Image File history File links PropagandaHitlerTojo. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Hitler redirects here. ... Hideki Tojo (KyÅ«jitai: 東條 英機; Shinjitai: 東条 英機;  ) (December 30, 1884 – December 23, 1948) was a General in the Imperial Japanese Army and the 40th Prime Minister of Japan during much of World War II, from October 18, 1941 to July 22, 1944. ... Bombardier CL-415 waterbomber of the Province of Québec Aerial firefighting is a method to combat wildfires using aircraft. ... Firing the woods in a South Carolina forest with a custom made igniter mounted on an all terrain vehicle. ... The Country Fire Authority, or CFA, is the name of the fire service that provides fire fighting and other emergency services to all of the country areas and regional townships within the state of Victoria, Australia, as well as large portions of the outer suburban areas and growth corridors of... Grass fire at Willunga. ... Defensible space is a concept first proposed by the architect Oscar Newman. ... Fire is a component of the environment. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Fire lookout. ... A decidous beech forest in Slovenia. ... Flooding in Amphoe Sena, Ayutthaya Province, Thailand. ... Contents: Top - 0-9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A Aerial firefighting: Use of aircraft to combat wildfires. ... The International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF) is a non-profit, professional association created to facilitate communication and provide leadership for the wildland fire community. ... The Keetch-Byram Drought Index, created by John Keetch and George Byram in 1968 for the United States Department of Agricultures Forest Service, outlines mathematical models for predicting the likelihood of wildfire based on soil moisture and other conditions related to drought. ... This is a list of notorious forest fires: // Black Friday Bushfires of 1939 (South Australia) (Country Fire Service) Black Sunday Bushfires of 1955 (South Australia) Dwellingup fires of 1961 (Western Australia) Ash Wednesday fires of 1980 and 1983 (Victoria and South Australia) (Country Fire Service,Country Fire Authority) 1994 Eastern... The New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) is a volunteer firefighting service and is responsible for providing fire protection to over 90% of the geographical area of the state of New South Wales in Australia. ... In North America, the belief that fire suppression has substantially reduced the average annual area burned is widely held by resource managers and is often thought to be self-evident. ...

References

  • Baumgardner, D., et al. 2003. Warming of the Arctic lower stratosphere by light absorbing particle. American Geophysical Union fall meeting. Dec. 8-12. San Francisco.
  • Bridge, S.R.J, K. Miyanishi and E.A. Johnson. 2005. A Critical Evaluation of Fire Suppression Effects in the Boreal Forest of Ontario. Forest Science 51:41-50.
  • Fromm, M., et al. 2003. Stratospheric smoke down under: Injection from Australian fires/convection in January 2003. American Geophysical Union fall meeting. Dec. 8-12. San Francisco.
  • Johnson, E.A. and Miyanishi K. (Eds.) 2001. Forest Fires - Behavior and Ecological Effects. Academic Press, San Diego.
  • Johnson, E.A., K. Miyanishi, and S.R.J. Bridge. 2001. Wildfire regime in the boreal forest and the idea of suppression and fuel buildup. Conserv. Biol. 15:1554-1557.
  • Li, C. 2000. Fire regimes and their simulation with reference to Ontario. P. 115-140 in Ecology of a managed terrestrial landscape: patterns and processes of forest landscapes in Ontario, Perera, A.H., D.L. Euler, and I.D. Thompson (eds.). UBC Press, Vancouver, BC.
  • Makarim, Nabiel, et al. BAPEDAL and CIDA-CEPI. 1998. Assessment of 1997 Land and Forest Fires in Indonesia: National Coordination. From "International Forest Fire News", #18, page 4-12, January 1998.
  • Martell, D.L. 1994. The impact of fire on timber supply in Ontario. For. Chron. 70:164-173.
  • Martell, D.L. 1996. Old-growth, disturbance, and ecosystem management: commentary. Can. J. Bot. 74:509-510.
  • Miyanishi, K., and E.A. Johnson. 2001. A re-examination of the effects of fire suppression in the boreal forest. Can. J. For. Res. 31:1462-1466.
  • Miyanishi, K., S.R.J. Bridge, AND E.A. Johnson. 2002. Wildfire regime in the boreal forest. Conserv. Biol. 16:1177-1178.
  • Pyne, S.J. et al. 1996. Introduction to Wildland Fire. Wiley, New York.
  • Stocks, B.J. 1991. The extent and impact of forest fires in northern circumpolar countries. P. 197-202 in Global biomass burning: atmospheric, climatic and biospheric implications, Levine, J.S. (ed.). MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
  • Wang, P.K. 2003. The physical mechanism of injecting biomass burning materials into the stratosphere during fire-induced thunderstorms. American Geophysical Union fall meeting. Dec. 8-12. San Francisco.
  • Ward, P.C., and W. Mawdsley. 2000. Fire management in the boreal forests of Canada. P. 274-288 In Fire, climate change, and carbon cycling in the boreal forest, Kasischke, E.S., and B.J. Stocks (eds.). Springer, New York, NY.
  • Ward, P.C., and A.G. Tithecott. 1993. The impact of fire management on the boreal landscape of Ontario. Aviation, Flood and Fire Management Branch Publication No. 305. Ont. Min. Nat. Res., Queens Printer for Ontario, Toronto, ON.
  • Ward, P. C., Tithecott, A. G., & Wotton, B. M. 2001. Reply—a re-examination of the effects of fire suppression in the boreal forest. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 31(8), 1467.
  • Weber, M.G., and B.J. Stocks. 1998. Forest fires in the boreal forests of Canada. P. 215-233 in Large forest fires, Moreno, J.M. (ed.). Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, The

Stephen J. Pyne is a professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, specializing in the history of ecology, the history of exploration, and the history of fire. ...

External links

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