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
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.