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All rights reserved. Uncontrolled blazes fueled by weather, wind, and dry underbrush, wildfires can burn acres of land—and consume everything in their paths—in mere minutes. On average, more than , wildfires, also called wildland fires or forest fires, clear 4 million to 5 million acres 1. In recent years, wildfires have burned up to 9 million acres 3. A wildfire moves at speeds of up to 14 miles an hour 23 kilometers an hour , consuming everything—trees, brush, homes, even humans —in its path. There are three conditions that need to be present in order for a wildfire to burn, which firefighters refer to as the fire triangle: fuel, oxygen, and a heat source.
Fuel is any flammable material surrounding a fire, including trees, grasses, brush, even homes. The greater an area's fuel load, the more intense the fire. Air supplies the oxygen a fire needs to burn. Heat sources help spark the wildfire and bring fuel to temperatures hot enough to ignite.
Lightning, burning campfires or cigarettes, hot winds, and even the sun can all provide sufficient heat to spark a wildfire.
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Although four out of five wildfires are started by people, nature is usually more than happy to help fan the flames. Dry weather and drought convert green vegetation into bone-dry, flammable fuel; strong winds spread fire quickly over land; and warm temperatures encourage combustion.
When these factors come together all that's needed is a spark—in the form of lightning, arson, a downed power line, or a burning campfire or cigarette—to ignite a blaze that could last for weeks and consume tens of thousands of acres. These violent infernos occur around the world and in most of the 50 states, but they are most common in the U. Retrieved 21 August Fire department List of fire departments Fire lookout tower Fire station. Australia United States California , Washington.
Why we need to treat wildfire as a public health issue in California
Glossary of wildfire terms List of wildfires. Category Commons. Categories : Wildfires Lists of wildfires. Hidden categories: CS1 maint: archived copy as title CS1: Julian—Gregorian uncertainty Use dmy dates from February Wikipedia articles in need of updating from August All Wikipedia articles in need of updating All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from August Articles with unsourced statements from December Articles to be expanded from May All articles to be expanded Articles using small message boxes All articles with dead external links Articles with dead external links from November Wikipedia articles needing clarification from August Namespaces Article Talk.
It was overshadowed by the Great Chicago Fire that occurred on the same day. The Great Michigan Fire. Bighorn Fire. Santiago Canyon Fire of Washington state and Oregon. Adirondack Fire. Town of Fernie , BC destroyed. Cause: logging slash. Idaho and Montana. Killed people according to official figures, and destroyed several towns, Cochrane burnt again after just five years. Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Alberta and Saskatchewan. Village of Lac La Biche destroyed. Killed 43 people and burnt through 18 townships in the Timiskaming District.
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Giant Berkeley Fire. Leveled 50 city blocks, destroying buildings .
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Killed 29 firefighters and injured more than . Blackwater Creek Fire. Killed 15 firefighters . The Great Fires of A series of fires that lasted ten days; 16 people killed.
California is inexplicably racing to pass a badly vetted wildfire bill
British Columbia and Alberta. Largest single North American fire on record. The B. Started November 25th. Fire destroyed 40, acres in Cleveland National Forest and caused 11 deaths. Kech Fire. Largest wildfire in BC history  [ dead link ]  until the Plateau Fire of , hectares. Vandenberg Air Force Base , 4 people killed including the base commander, and two fire chiefs. Swiss Fire. Houston, British Columbia , destroyed 7 residences. In , nearly 93, acres of forest, wetlands and farmland burned in northeastern North Carolina in one of the biggest fires in modern state history .
California and Oregon. These fires were started by a large lightning storm in late August. The storm started roughly new fires, most caused by dry lightning. Yellowstone fires of Wyoming and Montana. Over homes destroyed.
Worst fire season in province's history. Cause: severe drought, human and natural ignition sources. Oakland Hills firestorm.
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Laguna Beach Fire. South Canyon fire. Cause was lightning. Approximately 7, people evacuated. Over 40 buildings destroyed.
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Thirty Mile Fire. Ponil Complex Fire. Rodeo-Chediski fire.
Threatened, but did not burn the town of Show Low, Arizona. Hayman Fire in Pike National Forest. Destroyed large portions of Summerhaven, Arizona. Okanagan Mountain Park Fire. Displaced 45, inhabitants, destroyed homes and threatened urbanized sections of Kelowna. Burned along the crest of the Cascade Mountains between Mount Washington and Mount Jefferson including 40, acres Cedar Fire Third largest recorded fire in modern California history; burned 2, homes and killed 15 in San Diego County. Florida Bugaboo Fire.