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Forest fires are terrifying and most of the time, destructive. A tiny mishap could trigger a huge fire. Such fires kill trees and other plants, even burning roots underground. People and animals caught in the fires may be killed by smoke. Firefighters do not try to stop large forest fires. Instead, they control a fire from spreading too far. The fire would eventually burn itself out. A blackened wasteland is what remains in the end.

Places with regular occurrences of such fires are Australia and California, especially during droughts. Most fires are a result of human accidents, for instance, the reckless disposal of cigarette butts. Lightning strikes can also spark a forest fire.

Hot summer weather dries out plants. Dry vegetation is more prone to catching fire. However, the burning is part of a natural cycle. It clears land and makes room for new plants and trees to grow better.

Forest fires are very dangerous. Often, people are killed by smoke because they are unable to see amidst the flames and are not able to run to safety in time. Houses that are made from wood easily catch fire and get partially or completely destroyed. It would be worse when houses are built very close to one another. Fire can spread easily from one house to another.

Portable weather stations in the forest keep watch on temperature and humidity during the fire season. Some countries depend on them as the risk of fire is highest when it is very hot and dry. Scientists use computers to work out how a fire will spread once it has started so that citizens and officials know how to deal with it.

Even with these technological advances, nothing beats being fully prepared for an emergency. Citizens in fire-prone areas should be well-prepared to anticipate such disasters by having their own safety and evacuation measures. They must be well-equipped to protect themselves. They need to have cotton or wool clothing, gloves, goggles and a helmet. They can use water and wet blankets to beat out flames. They also need to practise putting out small fires.

The best way to stop a fire is to prevent it from starting. Fires can get out of hand, so let us all work together to avoid causing unnecessary damage to properties and lives.

   
Answer the following questions using complete sentences
  1. Why do firefighters not put out forest fires ? What do they do instead ?
  2. Which word in paragraph 1 has the same meaning as 'accident' ?
  3. When do forest fires usually occur and why ?
  4. How can these fires be useful ?
  5. In what way does smoke kill people ?
  6. Referring to paragraph 4, what type of houses would be safer in a fire-prone area and how should they be built ?
  7. In what way do some countries keep track of the situation in the forest during the fire season ?
  8. In what situation do you think 'evacuation measures' (paragraph 6) must be taken ?
  9. Describe two ways people can protect themselves.
  10. Why is it ideal to prevent a fire from starting ?
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Answers
 

1.

The fire would eventually burn itself out. They only try to control the fire from spreading too far.
 

2.

The word is 'mishap'.
 

3.

They are more common during hot summers when the dry vegetations are more prone to catch fire.
 

4.

They clear land and make room for new plants and trees to grow.
 

5.

Smoke kills people when they are unable to run to safety in time as they cannot see amidst the flames.
  6. Houses made of bricks (or a hardy material) would be safer and they should not be built close to one another.
  7. They use portable weather stations in the forest to monitor temperature and humidity.
  8. They must be taken when the fire becomes out of control and poses a danger to the lives of people living close to the fire.
  9. They must be well-equipped with cotton or wool clothing, gloves, goggles and a helmet. They can use water or wet blankets to beat out small flames.
  10. Fire can spread very fast (or get out of hand) and cause a lot of damage to properties and lives.
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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