|Most forest fires, especially those near houses, are now suppressed. Once the pattern of fire suppression begins, it becomes necessary to continue fighting fires. This is because dead branches and needles collect on the forest floor for many years, and when a fire does occur eventually, it will be much larger and have the potential to destroy a vast area. The smoke released in huge fires contributes to global warming and climate change.|
Many fires are set by lightning. But lightning is usually accompanied by rain, so most of these small fires are put out
quite quickly. Photo by Maya Walters.
Suppression, or actually fighting a fire, can be done in hundreds of ways, depending on the spread rate, intensity, and many other factors. Ground fires can be contained by digging trenches around the fire, surrounding it and removing it from other fuels. The most common type of fire is the surface fire, and it is battled by creating fire lines, utilizing back pack water pumps, and calling in aerial water bombers for inaccessible areas. Crown fires are very dangerous and are most often fought from a distance. Fire-retardant chemicals may be sprayed on buildings in the fire's path.
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