What are the causes and effects of wildfires? AG-FS-5. The student will be able to develop an understanding of the role of fire in a forest environment. Describe the types, causes, effects and prevention of wildfires. Identify and explain pre-suppression techniques for wildfires. Explain how air movement, topography, and fuel types affect fire behavior. Types and Categories of Wildfires
What are the effects of wildfires? • Destroy or reduce the value of standing timber • Destroy young seedlings which are our future forests • Can reduce the growth rate of a forest stand • Fires that destroy vegetation reduce the water-holding capacity of watershed areas leading to soil erosion • Cause pollution of local streams and ponds • Wildlife may be injured or killed • Destruction of game habitat or food • Encourage insects and diseases in forest stands • Destruction can affect local, state, and national economy
What are the causes of forest fires? • 65% of wildfires are caused by: • Escaped debris fires (40%) • Woods arson (25%) • The rest are caused by smoking, campers and lightning • Ga has an average of 11,000 forest fires per year that burn more than 50,000 acres • GFC has been able to hold fire size to @ 4.7 acres • Avg wildfire size for SE U.S. is 19 acres per forest fire
How are fires started? • Fire- the quick combustion of oxygen with another substance • May have heat, light or flame, but not always Pine needles Grass Palmetto tops Limbs Wind increase O2 Sparks, lightning, friction Engine carbon, cigarettes
How are fires put out? • Must remove one side of the fire triangle
Types of Forest Fires • Ground fires • Burn the organic materials beneath the surface litter (needles, leaves and twigs on forest floor) • Surface fires • Burn surface litter of loose debris on the forest floor and small vegetation. Most common type of fires. • Crown fires • Burn from top to top of trees or shrubs. Fastest spreading fires and very hard to control.