Forest Fires – Why they are GOOD
When God created forests He knew what they needed, and He gave them what they needed. Forests can take care of themselves. Many years ago, though, scientists wanted to help the forests. Scientists were afraid the fires were killing the forests, so they found ways to help prevent forest fires from starting. People did everything they could to avoid fires, and it worked. Forest fires decreased greatly, but they were doing more harm than good by stopping the fires.
Suddenly when a fire did start it didn’t stop. Rather than running along the forest floor for a ways and then going out the fires went on, they went higher into the trees and actually were killing the forests. Now we know that forests depend on fires for survival.
Forest’s floors are built of debris from trees and dead plants. There are layers of dead twigs, pine needles, seeds, and leaves. On top of all that there are fallen trees, shrubs, baby trees, and briers. When natural forest fires happen when they are supposed to all this “fuel” on the floor burns away and the fire goes out, then in a couple years when more material have built up it happens again. If fires are not able to happen the debris accumulates more than it should creating a very large amount of “fuel”, Trees and shrubs begin to grow to thickly, and the briers, fallen trees, and branches begin to get so thick people can hardly enjoy or even walk in the forests anymore. Then lightning or a spark from a near camp fire lights the forest. The forest starts to burn. Because of the massive amounts of debris and overgrown shrubbery the fire reaches the tops of the trees and burns much hotter at the basses, killing the trees, and most likely destroying the entire forest, and killing many living creatures as it goes.
Scientists have now learned from their mistakes and there are now prescribed fires for overgrown forests. Trained professionals now use drip torches to burn away undergrowth at a very slow pace, giving animals plenty of time to get far enough away to avoid being burned. These fires are planned and watched very closely and with great care, before the fires the weather, wind, floor density, and moister in the forest are all considered when planning the burn day.
Johanna E. Howland