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Forest Fires

What is the difference between wildfires, prescribed fires, and forest fires?
What effects do forest fires have?
What causes forest fires?
What can be done to prevent forest fires while camping?

Some forest fires occur naturally, and these wildfires are a natural part of the life cycle of a forest. Prescribed forest fires are intentionally induced by humans in an effort to enhance potential vegetation growth and reduce the hazard of catastrophic wildfires caused by excessive dry fuel buildup. However, forest fires caused accidentally by humans disrupt this natural life cycle and are seen as a major environmental threat by both loggers and conservationists.

Forest fires can destroy wilderness, property, and lives. Through discarded smoking products, sparks from equipment in operation, arced powerlines, and campfires, among other things, fires are often ignited, and its these unplanned, uncontrolled, and necessary fires that could be most easily prevented.
Fire statistics for fires have shown that on the Department of Natural Resource's protected lands, over 85% of forest fires were caused by people. People start fires, and people can prevent them. When camping, there are precautions one must take to prevent forest fires. All garbage created during camping should be disposed of properly. This means taking the trash when leaving. Trash should never be burned in or near forests.

Carelessly lit and tended campfires is another major concern throughout the burning season. National and state parks often have their own rules and regulations on campfires and sometimes require campers to obtain a campfire permit. If campfires are permitted, burn only natural vegetation and untreated wood products, and don't burn if it is very windy. Also, be sure that the fire pit is not close to any dry brush or flammable debris. Lastly, make sure that there is a plentiful supply of water nearby (at least five gallons), in case the campfire does start to spread. It is always good to know the local emergency telephone number if a fire spreads beyond individual control.

Extinguish the campfire immediately after use, and attend the fire until it is completely out. The ashes should be cool enough to hold in the hand. To read more about forest fires and how to prevent them, please visit the following sites:


http://www.cnie.org/nle/for-5.html
http://www.smokeybear.com/