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Assignment 6 - Essay Example

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Wildfires Institutional Affiliation Wildfires Wildfires are a common occurrence in the United States. Hamilton (2010) noted that every year, an average of 5 million acres of U.S. land burns due to wildfire. This makes the U.S. the most vulnerable country to wildfires…
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Download file to see previous pages This wildfire also resulted in the death of 86 people. This wildfire was so devastating that it prompted the Congress to set aside funds to assist the National Forest Service prevent and fight wildfires. Despite the measures that have been put in place to prevent wildfires, the U.S. still, continue to suffer from the effects of wildfires. Causes of Wildfire Both human and nature are responsible for wildfires witnessed in the U.S. According to Hamilton (2010), about 90% of wildfires that burn the U.S. forests and lands are started by humans. Firstly, arson attack is responsible for most wildfires in the U.S. Arson attacks happen when an individual deliberately starts fire with the aim of destroying the land of a person perceived as an enemy. In 2010 alone, the U.S. fire department reportedly responded to about 260,000 wildfires intentionally started by arsonists (The National Fire Protection, 2013). These intentional fires resulted in at least 390 deaths, and left at least 1,340 people with serious injuries. The fires also resulted in the destruction of property worth $1.2 billion. In fact, the wildfire that burnt more than 147,000 acres of land in Southern California in 2009 was caused by arson, according to the U.S. Forest Service report (CNN, 2009). This wildfire also destroyed many homes in the northern part of Los Angeles. Most wildfires in the U.S. are also caused by people burning debris. Most people in the U.S. have the habit of burning debris. However, sometimes the wind ends up blowing the debris to a dry grass and forest cover resulting in massive wildfires as has been the case in Michigan. The Michigan Fire department reveals that most wildfires in the state are caused by people burning debris (Hamilton, 2010). Smoking is also blamed for the rising incidences of wildfires in the U.S., according to Hamilton (2010). It has been observed that some wildfires are started by discarded burning cigarettes. When an individual discards a burning cigarette on a dry grass or forest, this sometimes ends up triggering a massive wildfire that result in the destruction of several acres of land. A small percentage of wildfires in the U.S. are caused by sparks from moving trains, vehicle exhaust, and heavy equipment. Some of the wildfires that burn the U.S. forests are caused by nature, such as lightning and lava. Silverstein, Silvertein, and Nunn (2009) reveal that whereas 90% of wildfires are caused by humans, the remaining 10% are caused by nature. Normally, when lightning occurs, electric currents are sent to the earth’s surface resulting in wildfires. For instance, report indicates that about half of all wildfires in Florida are stated by lightning. Lightning is also responsible for about 2% of all wildfires in Michigan. Volcanic eruption is also responsible for a significant number of wildfires in the U.S. When an eruption occurs, hot magma is through onto the earth’s surface that cools down to form lava. However, when the hot lava encounters dry grass or leaves, this sometimes starts wildfires as noted by Silverstein, Silvertein, and Nunn (2009). The physical nature of wildfires The physical nature of wildfire is very complex and depends largely on fuel type, geographical location, humidity, moisture content, temperature of an area and topography. For a wildfire to occur, the necessary elements must be available. Firstly, an ignition source ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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