What Are Some Facts About Forest Fires?


Quick Answer

Some facts about forest fires are that most animals are able to escape forest fires and also that naturally occurring fires benefit wildlife by removing dead underbrush and aggressive plant species and by generating new growth. The Melanophils beetle actually relies on scorched trees for mating and laying eggs.

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Climate change contributes to forest fires because warm, dry weather increases biomass-rich regions that are more prone to catch fire, as stated by AccuWeather. Extended periods of drought can cause large masses of dry vegetation to accumulate and spontaneously ignite and spread to surrounding areas.

Large forest fires can become so powerful that they produce their own micro-climates. In some geographic configurations, fires can consume all of the oxygen available and produce large amounts of carbon monoxide that cause many of the deaths associated with them. In extreme cases, they can create fire “tornadoes”, or fire whirls, which swirl at speeds exceeding 90 mph and travel in unpredictable directions, making them particularly dangerous and difficult to control.

Lightning strikes the earth at least 100,000 times every day but only causes 10 to 20 percent of forest fires. Humans remain the cause of between 80 and 90 percent of all forest fires. Forest fires consume approximately 1.2 million acres in the United States each year, explains the Natural History Museum of Utah.

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