PP Wildfires

Topics: Wildfire, Bushfire, Vegetation, 2009 / Pages: 21 (2691 words) / Published: Jan 22nd, 2015
Natural Hazards : Wildfires / Causes of Wildfires


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

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

Mechanical causes
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

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