A quick look at California’s wildfires

A quick look at California’s wildfires

Wildfire is a common phenomenon, particularly in dry years, in California. Whether a person lives in Alhambra foothills near Los Angeles or Zinfandel wine countryside close to Napa Valley, he/she must be aware of the reality of wildfires in the state.

A wildfire is usually triggered by a small combustible object, such as a cigarette butt, poorly extinguished campfire or a spark from a passing train. Apart from these man-made causes, natural causes like lightning can also be blamed for the calamity in the state.

Winds helps small fires grow and spread to large areas quickly. The fire that lasts for a long time, heats the ground, which forces warm air and smoke to go higher in the atmosphere, paving way for stronger winds. Sometimes, fire-induced microclimate grows large enough to create winds capable of blowing at a speed of more than 100 miles per hour, which creates a virtual hurricane.

Fast-moving hot winds heat up bushes, homes or anything that comes in their path; and when the fire arrives, the heat up area burn like a bomb-like explosion.

The California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection's Dave Allen said, "These fires can literally create their own environment and become deadly. They can immediately change conditions from dry to volatile."

These fires often become deadly. As per records available with the US Fire Administration, more than 200 firefighters have lost their lives to wildfires in the past 10 years.

Out of the top nine wildfires in the U. S. history, seven were reported in California. That is way the first Hotshot Crew was formed in California in 1949 to protect forests, homes and people from fires. There are nearly 107 Hotshot crews across the U. S.

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