A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire that burns in the vegetation of a wilderness. Wildfires can and have burned in forests, grasslands, savannas, and other ecosystems for hundreds of millions of years. They are not geographically or environmentally restricted.
Wildfires can burn in both below- and above-ground vegetation. Ground fires generally start in soil that is dense with organic stuff that can act as a fuel source for the flames, such as plant roots. Ground fires can smolder for an extended period of time—even a full season—until the conditions are favorable for them to spread to the surface or crown.
On the other hand, surface fires consume dead or dried vegetation that is lying or growing just above the ground. Parched grass or fallen leaves frequently serve as a fuel source for surface fires. Crown fires burn in trees and shrubs' leaves and canopies. Australia and British Columbia saw the havoc of flames and it's a lesson loud and clear for the world across.
What Environmental Conditions Promote Wildfires?
As a result of climate change, wildfires throughout the world today are more likely and more severe.
The majority of the world is currently experiencing the "most catastrophic drought in recorded history." The more hot and dry the environment becomes as a result of rising temperatures, the greater the chance of wildfires igniting naturally or as a result of human activity.
The risk of wildfire is determined by a variety of variables, including temperature, soil moisture, and the presence of trees, shrubs, and other possible fuel sources. All of these variables have a strong direct or indirect relationship with climate variability and change. Climate warming accelerates the drying of organic materials in forests (the stuff that ignites and spreads wild fire doubling the incidence of a number of major fires.
Intense heat and dry foliage provide an ideal fuel source for a wildfire that can quickly spread out of control. And when there is significant wind, optimal circumstances for fires to spread rapidly are created.
Numerous forested areas now have extended fire seasons as a result of climate change-related increases in the severity and frequency of wildfires.
Wildfires are not all bad
Additionally, wildfires contribute to the health of ecosystems.
They are capable of eradicating insects and diseases that wreak havoc on trees.
Fires can create space for new grasses, herbs, and shrubs that provide food and habitat for animals and birds by clearing scrub and underbrush.
At low intensity, flames can help clear debris and underbrush from the forest floor, enrich the soil with nutrients, and provide room for sunlight to reach the ground. That sunshine may nurture smaller plants while providing space for giant trees to grow and thrive.