Where there’s smoke…

With temperatures skyrocketing as summer sets in, wildfires are once again destroying thousands of acres of land.

On Monday, tankers were called in to fight a wildfire at Waldo Canyon, Colorado. According to the Denver Post, “The fire officially has burned 3,446 acres and by Monday afternoon was 5 percent contained.”

The Post reported that investigators are still searching for the initial cause of the fire.

Heat could have had something to do with it, according to Kevin Cunningham, author of Extreme Threats: Wildfires. Cunningham wrote, “Shifts in weather related to climate change lead to drought and temperature extremes that turn forests and grasslands into tinderboxes.”

“No structures have been damaged so far, but 6,000 El Paso County residents remain displaced by the fire,” the Post reported. “The fire could cause an estimated $295 million in damages if it were to reach nearby homes.”

The space between human residences and forests is quickly disappearing, which is one of the reasons wildfires have become serious threats to human life.

Cunningham wrote, “today a great deal of the damage [from wildfires] occurs at the forest’s edge, where human development bumps up against wild areas that are prone to burning-that in some cases evolved to burn-and that have become more dangerous because of, rather than in spite of, human activities.”

Adrianne Loggins
Associate Editor

For more information about wildfires, check out Extreme Threats: Wildfires by Kevin Cunningham (ISBN 9781599351209)

Published in: on June 26, 2012 at 10:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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“Remember, only YOU can prevent forest fires.” -Smokey the Bear

The cover of Extreme Threats: Wildfires

In Texas, wildfires have destroyed 2.2 million acres and more than four hundred homes this year, according to the Texas Forest Service. In the eastern part of our own home state, North Carolina, wildfires have raged across 21,000 acres, causing poor air quality as far west as the Raleigh/Durham area.

‘Tis the season for wildfires. With summer on the horizon, heat indexes will soar and so will the threat of fire.

According to Kevin Cunningham, author of the Morgan Reynolds book Extreme Threats: Wildfires, “The term wildfire means a fire that takes place in an underdeveloped or wild area.”

The problem is, these areas that are affected by wildfires, while less populated than urban areas, are not exactly wild. People do live in these areas, and have for years. In the last century, the battle between human and fire has become more and more prevalent as our population grows.

Cunningham writes that a wildfire is “by definition untamed, a force of nature that comes into existence and then sustains itself at the nexus where heat, oxygen, and fuel interact.”

He goes on, “[T]oday a great deal of the damage occurs at the forest’s edge, where human development bumps up against wild areas that are prone to burning—that in some cases evolved to burn—and that have become more dangerous because of, rather than in spite of, human activities.”

Humans can live in harmony with this, one of nature’s threats, but that would mean making compromises. But are we willing to change our lifestyles in order to remain safe?

James Smalley of the National Fire Prevention Association once said, “[P]eople who live in natural settings don’t quite get it yet—that you can adapt, that you can still have a natural beautiful setting. You have to understand that fire is part of the natural landscape. So you have to adapt.”

Cunningham writes, “The obvious solution to the problem—moving human settlements away from wildlands—will never happen. Living close to nature is for many part of the American Dream.”

We are not a species that likes to settle. But we have to accept that the world is getting smaller by the minute, and we have to make certain sacrifices—like where we live, and how we life—in order to keep threats such as wildfires from becoming disasters.

Jack Cohen, of the U.S. Forest Service, said, “We have the ability to be compatible with fire. But we mostly choose not to be . . . . Our expectations, desires, and perceptions are inconsistent with the natural reality.”

Adrianne Loggins
Associate Editor

For more information about wildfires and prevention, please check out Extreme Threats: Wildfires (ISBN: 978-1-59935-120-9).

Check out the rest of the series too!

Extreme Threats: Volcanoes by Don Nardo                                                                 (ISBN 978-1-59935-118-6)

Extreme Threats: Climate Change by Don Nardo                                                      (ISBN 978-1-5935-119-3)

Extreme Threats: Asteroids and Comets by Don Nardo                                          (ISBN 978-1-59935-121-6)

Published in: on May 12, 2011 at 11:08 am  Leave a Comment