Forest and Grassland Fires

Issue 6 and Volume 126.

Forest and Grassland Fires Man is responsible for 90 percent of the fires (26 percent of all fires incendiary) in forests and grasslands, which account for about half of this nation’s two billion acres. Lightning causes the other 10 percent of these fires, according to the United States Forest Service. Ironically, the effort to save forests contributes to the problem as dead fuel accumulates on the forest floor and “increases the hazard of a major blaze.” To combat this, “prescribed burning” to dispose of dead fuel and make forests more productive has gained an increasing number of adherents, the commission reported. Large fires, those burning over 300 acres, account for less than 1 percent of all fires, but they account for 60 percent of the burned acreage and a high percentage of the loss of life and resources. However, the overall fire protection record “has been improving significantly.” Fire prevention,…

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