Wild Fire: Overview
Wildfires are uncontrolled fires often caused by lightning, human mistakes, and arson in wildland areas. They also breach houses and agricultural lands. Wild fires are common in many vegetated areas of the world in Australia, Western Cape of South Africa, United States, and Canada. In these areas, the climate is generally moist enough to allow vegetation to grow. However, long periods of dry spells such as droughts allow wildfires to occur. These long dry periods generally extend from the mid summer months to the early winter months.
When water reserves in the soil fall too low, plants dry out and release a flammable gas called ethane. The condition thus allows for fires to occur and spread. There are three ways fires propagate:
"crawling" fire: a fire spreads through low level vegetation
"crown" fire: a fire spreads via the top branches of trees often at an extremely fast pace
"jumping" or "spotting" fire: burning leaves and branches are carried by winds and ignite distant fires.
A phenomenon known as a firestorm occurs when a large wildfire draws in air from surrounding areas, generating powerful winds.
Extreme wildfires can be highly unpredictable and dangerous. Today, the scientific community has accepted wildfires as part of the natural cycle of ecosystems.