How Do Forest Fires Start?

Burning debris, cigarettes, fireworks and campfires left unattended are the four main causes of accidental forest fires. Forest fires are also caused intentionally by humans committing arson.

Burning branches and shrubs is typically legal with a permit, but wind can cause the fire to spread unexpectedly and lead to a wildfire. In order to prevent this, the fire department should be consulted to determine if it is a good day to burn debris. Potential hazards that may be too near the fire should be moved 10 feet away, and spaces with anything hanging overhead should be avoided. The space should also be watered down and covered in dirt or gravel. After the debris is burned, the space should be watered and shoveled over repeatedly.

A lit cigarette should be thoroughly ground into the dirt instead of tossed away into grass or underbrush. Fireworks that shoot into the air are hard to control in a forest and should be avoided to prevent forest fires. A campfire is to be planned with the same care as a debris fire; it should be protected from the wind, and flammable objects should be cleared away from the fire. A campfire should only be built in a fire pit ringed with rocks, with a shovel and a bucket of water nearby. Campfires should be kept small and manageable at all times. A large amount of water should be poured onto the coals to extinguish the fire completely. The fire pit should then be stirred around with a shovel to make sure that the fire is thoroughly extinguished and nothing is left smoldering.