Wildfire Definition : an Uncontrolled fire which breaks out in a Natural
Environment. It may be ‘controlled’ (put out) after some days or weeks – but for a time it is out of control – and takes place in forests, grasslands or crop fields – not in cities.
Key Terms :
Lightning : Common in summer when thunderstorms develop. The biggest single ‘natural’ cause
Volcanic eruptions : lava, ash, pyroclastic flows can spark a fire
Human (intentional) causes
Spontaneous combustion of decomposing vegetation haystacks
Campfires and Barbecues left unattended in forested areas
Careless littering : dropped cigarette ends and broken glass bottles which magnify the sun’s rays Fireworks : many villages in the
Mediterranean have festivals in the summer. Fireworks can start fires. Human
Arson : possibly the biggest cause of fires near settlements.
Even firefighters have started fires. Controlled burning getting out of control : burning off grasslands or heather moorland gets out of hand. Mechanic al Trains can create sparks from electric connectors, friction & sparks Wildfire
Human (accidental) causes
Causes of Wildfires
Example / Case-Study :
In the Canary Islands forest fires were started in 2007 after a town festival ended with a firework display. In the south of France, the army started a forest fire when they practised artillery shelling during the hot, dry summer.
Possible Questions :
What are the different ways
Wildfires may start?
Describe a Natural cause to a
Wildfire, and a Human cause.
Weblinks : BBC clip of Russia’s wildfires summer 2010 http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/w ildfires-in-russia-summer-2010/10775.html
Natural Hazards : Wildfires / 2009 Mediterranean wildfire season
Most wildfires take place after a long dry spell when the ground is full of tinder dry leaves, twigs, grass and branches. Around the