In 2013, there were 47,579 wildfires in the US. in 2016, there were 67,743. Why the increase? Temperatures continue to rise, and the average temperature in the western United States has increased each year.
An infographic designed by Furniture Plus Online has revealed just how damaging these wildfires can be.
Believe it or not, but approximately 90% of wildfires in the US are started by humans. Whether this is by accident or on purpose, once started, they spread quickly. Forests are drier than they’ve ever been, meaning conditions are just right for wildfires to begin and easier than ever to spread.
In the 1970’s, the average length of the wildfire season in the United States was 5 months. Now, it’s more than 7 months. This has a massive impact on both the forests and the wildlife that live in those forests. British Columbia has seen immense deforestation, losing more than 2.8 million acres from wildfires this year alone. California has lost more than 1 million acres, and this has caused a massive loss of biodiversity and wildlife as trees, plants, and animals are decimated.
So what can you do to prevent wildfires? When you’re enjoying the outdoors, make sure you never ever leave your fire unattended. Fires should be extinguished with water, and you should always stir the ashes until they’re cold before you leave the campsite or go to sleep.
Be careful when you’re using lanterns, heaters, and stoves. Make sure heating and lighting devices are stone cold before you refuel them, and be very careful not to spill any flammable liquids. Never discard smoking materials like matches or cigarettes anywhere in the wild or from moving vehicles when driving.
If you’re burning yard waste at home, follow your local ordinances. Never burn when it’s windy, and keep fire retardant, water, and a shovel close by to keep the area safe.
When driving through forested areas, make sure your exhaust system is up to scratch. Many vehicles have spark arrestors, preventing engines from emissions of flammable debris. Make sure your vehicle has this, along with your leaf blower, chainsaw, and other devices.
While you may have an all-terrain vehicle, and it may be made to drive anywhere, the underside of these vehicles generate a lot of heat and can even ignite brush and grasses as they drive over. Above all, be careful and keep an eye out for any signs of fire or smoke.