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Forest Fires And Its Effects On The Environment

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Most all of us have heard of Smokey Bear and his message of preventing forest fires. Smokey Bear teaches children and adults to prevent forest fires by properly extinguishing campfires. This is a good message to learn, but it also leads people to believe that all forest fires are a bad thing. In many places fire is a naturally occurring phenomenon that is beneficial to the environment. Because of population growth and the Smokey Bear stop forest fires campaign, fire has been suppressed in much of the country. By suppressing naturally occurring wild fires, we are greatly increasing our risk of large out of control wild fires that cause billions of dollars’ worth of damage. These fires also risk the lives of the men and women who work hard to fight them. One way to deal with this is through prescribed fires. Everyday forest rangers like my husband utilize prescribed fires as an effective tool in forest management. Prescribed fires have a lot of the same benefits as naturally occurring wild fires, but they are done in a controlled environment. Three of the major benefits of prescribed fire are fuel reduction, insect and disease control, and the improvement of plant and animal health. Fuel reduction is a major benefit of naturally occurring forest fires. Prior to major population growth forest fires would happen more often and there would be less fuel on the forest floor. This would lead to less intense fires. Unfortunately most of the population believes in forest fire
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