While camping may be a pleasant activity that gives you the true feeling of freedom that we lack in city life, the hobby is not without its hazards. As with anything else worth doing, there is always an element of risk to camping. There are many dangers to campers in the wilderness, ranging from bears all the way to wildfires.
The latter will be a point of particular focus during this article, as we’ll be going over the dangers of bushfires. Of course, before we discuss why bushfires are dangerous, we’ll have to cover what they are in the first place to ensure that all of our readers are following along with us.
Other than going over what are wildfires, we’ll also take a look at some of the reasons that they start off in the first place. However, we’ll focus primarily on helping you understand the dangers of bushfires and why you should try to avoid them at all costs when you’re out in the wilderness.
What Are Bushfires?
The first thing that you need to know is what these occurrences are in the first place. You may have heard of them referred to as wildfires or forest fires, though they don’t exclusively have to happen in a forest. A bushfire is a fire in a wild, uninhabited area that has started raging out of control.
As you would imagine, vegetation provides fuel for these fires, and they can reach a massive size before they are put out by concentrated firefighting efforts. A lot of work goes into stopping these fires, and if they rampage out of control for long enough, they can reach the point where they threaten inhabited areas.
Common Causes Of Bushfires
Many different things can kick off a wildfire, and they would be split into two categories: natural and human-made. In this section, we'll be taking a look at the most likely causes of these fires. Some of the answers may surprise you, so let's take a look.
The most common cause of wildfires across the world is a lightning strike; as they can occur anywhere there is a storm. All it takes for lightning to get a wildfire started is a strike in the wrong place at the wrong time, such as during the dry season when it doesn't take much to ignite vegetation.
Lightning's immense temperature means that it will be likely to instantly ignite whatever it touches, even if the vegetation is relatively humid. Of course, the dryness of the surrounding area will influence whether or not the fire spreads or if it ends up burning itself out without major damage.
Another common natural cause of bushfires is volcanic activity. Lava flowing from volcanoes has been responsible for many historical wildfires. Fighting wildfires during volcanic activity are particularly hazardous as the firefighters will be at risk of injury from further eruptions.
The ash spouts from volcanoes also make it impossible to fight these fires with water bombers, which are one of the most effective methods used to fight wildfires. If the coarse volcanic ash comes into contact with the internals of a jet engine, the fan will seize up and may not restart.
This one might surprise you, but spontaneous combustion is a genuine concern when it comes to wildfire ignition. Things can suddenly catch fire because of chemical reactions taking place when they are next to each other in large quantities, and this has been proven with hay, pistachios, and more.
If a bunch of vegetation suddenly catches fire because of the temperature steadily rising, it can also be considered spontaneous combustion. You’ll find that this is the least likely natural cause of forest fires due to the perfect conditions that are required for spontaneous combustion.
Now we'll dive into some of the human-made causes of forest fires, and arson has historically been a cause of them. Whether the reason is pyromania or a targeted fire gone wrong, bushfires that are caused by arsonists are taken very seriously by the law, with perpetrators often being responsible for millions in damages.
There have also been forest fires that have started because of mistakes or irresponsibility. For example, using fireworks near a wooded area where there is enough dry vegetation to start a fire can be a cause. Some forest fires have started off due to something as simple as an out of control campfire.
Why You Should Report Bushfires Immediately
If you see any signs of a bushfire developing, you'll want to inform the authorities as soon as possible. The reason that most wildfires get out of control is that they usually aren't noticed until the blaze reaches a point where trying to put it out would be a massive effort.
Dangers Of Bushfires To Humans And The Environment
There are many reasons why bushfires are incredibly dangerous, so let’s look at why you should be wary of them whenever you’re in the wilderness.
As you would imagine, being burned is one of the main risks when you’re around a wildfire. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be touched by the flames to get burned, as some forest fires get so massive that just standing near them would singe your hair and burn your skin.
Something that people don’t consider when it comes to forest fires is the risk of smoke inhalation, which can often be more dangerous than the fire itself. If you inhale too much smoke, then you’ll have to deal with your lungs being burnt as well as the poisonous by-products of the fire.
Another bushfire danger is the destruction of animals’ habitat, which will lead to them dying off if they are not relocated or otherwise supported. Much of the time, efforts are so concentrated on stopping the fire that the animals can’t get the support that they need.
We hope that we’ve been able to accurately describe the dangers of wildfires in addition to giving you a comprehensive look at these destructive events. Thank you for taking the time to read this article.