If you read or watched the news throughout the last few weeks, you’ve likely seen the devastation of wildfires in the western United States, as well as Greece. Here are five facts about wildfires.
A wildfire — as known as a forest or peat fire — is an uncontrolled fire. Wildfires often occur in wild, unpopulated areas, but they can occur anywhere and harm homes, agriculture, humans and animals in their path.
A human problem
About 90 percent of all wildfires are started by humans. Although weather conditions can directly contribute to the occurrence of wildfires through lightning strikes or indirectly by an extended dry spell or drought.
Tree top fires
“Crown fires” are spread by wind quickly moving across the tops of trees. “Running crown fires” are even more dangerous because they burn extremely hot, travel rapidly and can change direction quickly.
One of the largest fires in recent history was in 1825 when a fire tore through Maine and New Brunswick, Canada, burning 3 million acres of forest. An average of 1.2 million acres of US woodland burn every year.
A large wildfire — or conflagration — is capable of modifying the local weather conditions (i.e., producing its own weather).