Whether you live on the East Coast, on the West Coast or somewhere in between, you’ve likely heard about the devastating effects that wildfires can have. Humans have interacted with fire since the early Stone Age, and yet it’s still an element of nature over which we have little control. Wildland firefighters work diligently to protect humans, animals, and nature when wildfires occur. You might wonder how these fires even begin; keep reading to learn more about the interesting ways wildfires start.
Yes, spontaneous combustion is an actual thing, not just something in fantasy stories. Also known as spontaneous ignition, it occurs when fire ignites without the outward application of a high-temperature resource. As such, a fire of this nature ignites when chemical reactions begin occurring in an environment of combustible materials. For example, as a result of natural decomposition, manure heaps cultivate the development of heat-producing biological materials, which can start a wildfire.
More than half of wildfires are due to human error and negligence, the most common causes being celebrations such as gender reveal parties and outdoor weddings. Many people use lanterns, fireworks, and smoke-generating pyrotechnic devices during these gatherings, which can result in devasting wildfire consequences. While disappointing, this fact gives us the opportunity for prevention. If you live in an area prone to wildfires, this is particularly important for you to know, especially as you think about how you can prepare your community for a wildfire.
Third on our list of interesting ways wildfires start are animals. The nature of animals makes them prone to certain behaviors. For example, a mouse or squirrel might happen upon a piece of machinery, prompting them to munch away at the electrical wires. Sadly, the exposed wires can then ignite, resulting in terrible fates for surrounding wildlife.