Wildfire is spontaneous, uncontrolled spread of fire on forestland. The causes of wildfires can be divided into natural and anthropogenic. The most common natural causes of the large wildfires are usually lightning. Dimensions of the wildfires make even possible their visual observation from space.
In young forests, where there is a lot of greenery, the risk of fire from lightning is significantly lower than in the aged forests where there are many dry and diseased trees. Thus in nature long before man existed a kind of balance. Ecological role of the wildfire was in the natural forest update.
Today the share of the natural wildfire (lightning) is about 7 % -8 %, i.e., the most of the wild fires are caused by human activities. Thus, there is an urgent need of fire services and monitoring of the compliance with fire safety regulations.
Sometimes wildfires are caused artificially. Such fires are called controlled wildfire. The objectives of the controlled wildfires are: destruction of flammable combustible materials, waste harvesting, preparation of land for planting, eradication of the insect and diseases, etc.
Depending on how a wildfire is spreading, it can be ground fire, crown fire, and underground fire:
A ground fire burns litter, lichens, mosses, grasses, the branches fallen on the ground, etc. The speed of the this type of wildfire in the wind is 0.25-5 km/h The flame height is 2.5 m with burning temperature of about 700 ° C (sometimes higher).
A ground fire can be fleeting and stable:
- A fleeting ground fire burns the upper part of the ground cover, undergrowth, and underwood. This fire spread with great speed, avoiding places with high humidity, so there are some part of the area untouched by fire. Fleeting fires occur mainly in spring, when only the top layer dries out and is fine fuel.
- A stable ground fires spread slowly, while fully burning alive and dead ground cover, theroots and bark of trees, completely burns out undergrowth and underwood. Stable fires occur mainly in the mid-summer.
A crown wildfire burns leaves, pine needles, branches, and the entire crown, can cover (in the case of indiscriminate fire) grass-moss cover and undergrowth. Propagation velocity of this type of the wildfire is 5-70 km/h. The temperature is from 900 ° C to 1200 ° C. They usually develop during the dry windy weather from ground fire in the forest areas with low crowns in uneven-aged plantations, as well as abundant coniferous undergrowth. Crown fire is usually the final stage of the wildfire. The scope of propagation is ovate- oblong.
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