In just minutes, a fire can become life-threatening and a residence can be engulfed in flames.
- Fire is FAST! In less than 30 seconds a small flame can turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house or for it to be engulfed in flames
- Fire is HOT! Heat is more threatening than flames. Room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this super-hot air can scorch your lungs and melt clothes to your skin
- Fire is DARK! Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness
- Fire is DEADLY! Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Asphyxiation (what is often referred to as smoke inhalation) is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three-to-one ratio. A wildfire is an unplanned, unwanted fire burning in a natural area, such as a forest, grassland, or prairie. As building development expands into these areas, homes and businesses may be situated in or near areas susceptible to wildfires. This is called the wildland urban interface
Wildfires can cause death or injury to people and animals, damage or destroy structures, and disrupt community services including transportation, gas, power, communications, and other services. The impact may cover large areas with extensive burning, embers traveling more than a mile away from the wildfire itself, and smoke causing health issues for people far away from the fire. Wildfires damage watersheds and leave areas prone to flooding and mudslides for many years.
Wildfires can occur anywhere in the Country. They can start in remote wilderness areas, in national parks, or even in your backyard. Wildfires can start from natural causes, such as lightning, but most are caused by humans, either accidentally — from cigarettes, campfires, or outdoor burning — or intentionally.
Wildfires can occur at any time throughout the year, but the potential is always higher during periods with little or no rainfall, which make brush, grass, and trees dry and burn more easily. High winds can also contribute to spreading the fire. Your community may have a designated wildfire season when the risk is particularly high.
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