Protecting Buildings and Communities from Wildfires

When there is an uncontrolled and often unintentional fire that breaks out in the forest or any large expanse of land, it is called a wildfire. These fires are deadly, destructive, and spread quickly. In their wake they leave the burned remains of homes, grass, and forest lands. A combination of factors often results in wildfires; however, humans and human neglect typically account for 90 percent of all wildfires in the U.S. Changes in global weather patterns that create hotter weather, are an example of something that causes this problem. The number of fires that occur in a year fluctuate. For example, in 2006 there were 96,385 fires that affected 9.873,745 acres, according to FEMA. Six years later in 2012 there were 67,774 total wildfires that burned 9,326,238 acres. Not all wildfires are caused by humans, however. These types of fires may also be a part of the natural cycle of the forest as it can facilitate beneficial changes.

Wildfire Information

  • Wildfire Causes: This is a section on the Michigan State University Wildfires and Firewise website regarding wildfires. It is a brief review of what causes wildfires. Although the causes mentioned may be a cause in another state, the primary focus of the article is the state of Michigan.
  • Understanding Fire Effects on the Environment: Readers who click this link are taken to the Pacific Northwest Research Station page where they can learn about how wildfires affect the environment. The page begins with a brief section on wildfires as a part of nature and the role it plays in the ecosystem before discussing the dangerous effects of it. The page includes a number of links to research articles on the topic.
  • Wildfire Causes: This link takes the reader to a page on the National Park Service Fire and Aviation Management website. On this page readers will learn what commonly causes wildfires, including what is the greatest cause of them.

Wildfire Prevention

  • Wildfire.com - Prevention: This link discusses humans as the cause of many wildfires and it is the introduction page to wildfire prevention. The article is connected to two links that go into further detail. The first link is to wildfire prevention "While Camping," and the second link takes the reader to wildfire prevention "While at home."
  • University of Houston - Wildfire Prevention Tips: This article lists tips that can help prevent wildfires in Texas, including obeying the state's burn bans. It also informs the reader what percentage of wildfires are caused by humans. Although the article is directed to the Texas college community, it is useful information for people across the U.S.
  • Arizona Interagency Wildfire Prevention - Fire Prevention Tips: Click on this link for an in-depth list of wildfire prevention tips. The article covers how to handle campfires, vehicles, chain saws and equipment, smoking and other common causes of wildfires so that they do not cause a fire. It also includes a section on how kids can also help prevent wildfires.
  • Wildfire Safety Tips: By clicking on this link readers are taken to an article on the National Geographic website that explains what people can do to prevent wildfires. The article also gives the reader vacation tips, advice on how to prepare one's home and what to do if caught in a wildfire.

Forest Protection/Burning Regulations

  • Burning Regulations: This is the burning regulations page for the City of Cape Girardeau. It lists open, outdoor and other relevant state regulations. City ordinances and international fire codes are also included on this page.
  • Marion County Burning Regulations: Click on this link to view the area's burning regulations. The page explains what yard waste is, and regulations regarding the burn pile, the setbacks, conditions for burning and alternatives to burning. Readers are also given information about the consequences of illegal burning.
  • Oregon Forest Management Planning - Wildfire Protection: This article explains what needs to be in a forest wildfire protection plan and why the information is important to the plan. A to-do wildfire protection list is also included in the article.

Reporting and Fighting a Wildfire

  • Outdoor Burning: Information, Regulations, and Assistance: On this page readers are given a toll-free number for reporting a wildfire. This information is found under the category "How to Report a Wildfire" along with instructions on what the dispatcher will need. Also on this page readers will find information about burning and links to frequently asked questions.
  • How to Fight a Wildfire: This is a video that appears on the website for The Christian Science Monitor. It reviews how wildfires are started, the damage caused by them and how they are fought on land and by air. The video contains music and text.
  • U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management Arizona: Click this link to learn how to report a wildfire in Arizona. Not only do readers learn who to inform, but they also are given an Arizona Fire Zones map.
  • USDA Forest Service - How to Report a Fire: Click on this link to learn how to report a fire in Pike and San Isabel National Forests Cimarron and Comanche National grasslands. Readers are also given tips to help them accurately report the fire.

Aftermath of a Wildfire

  • Colorado Fire Camp: Wildfire Effects: This article is about the effects of wildfire. It reviews the damage that occurs after a fire, including the economic effects and changes in the appearance of the area. Benefits to animals and plants are also discussed.
  • Management After Wildfire: Click on this article to read about what happens during the aftermath of a wildfire. The article reviews the impacts of fire, assistance after the wildfire, and vegetation recovery.
  • Effects of Wildfire on Soil and Water: Read what happens to water and soil in the aftermath of a forest wildfire. The article explains what the post-fire effects are dependent on.
  • Wildfires and Their Aftermath: Readers who select this link will open a PDF document on the aftermath of wildfires. The document displays images along with text. The readers will get statistics in addition to other facts regarding what happens after a fire.
  • Protecting Farms and Ranches from Wildfires - After: At the bottom of the page there is a section entitled "After" that reviews precautions that people can take to limit the dangers associated with the aftermath of a wildfire. The page also include information about what people should do before and during a wildfire.