Some interesting facts about wildfires include that they are most often started by people, but sunlight, lightning and hot winds can also cause them. Although a wildfire can move at speeds reaching 14 miles per hour, a big conflagration can cause winds speeds that are nearly 120 miles per hour. Additionally, the three elements needed for a wildfire are fuel, a heat element and oxygen.
Wildfires are sometimes referred to as wildland fires. Human carelessness causes four out of five fires that often start as the result of lighted cigarettes, matches or campfire embers. In some cases, wildfires are the result of arson. A specific type of fire, called a crown fire, occurs when wind causes tree tops to catch on fire. These types of fires can spread very fast. Many wildfires begin as the result of weather conditions, such as a lightning strike in a drought area where forest vegetation is very dry and acts as a fuel source.
In the United States, there are typically between 4 and 5 million acres of land affected by wildfires each year, states Kids Konnect. Some methods used to contain or stop wildfires are using water or dropping fire retardants from airplanes. Firefighters also cut back brush to eliminate the fire's fuel source.