What causes forest fires when you travel as a backpacker? What can you do to prevent it to happen? What do you need to know if a wildfire starts when you travel? What can you do to help? The humongous forest fires in Australia and now in California makes this topic more important than ever.

Long time heat provides fire for Forest fires

Forest fires are totally dependent on the global climate and how it manifests itself locally to make forest fires possible. Certain conditions must occur a considerable number of years in advance; a decade or so of constant temperate climate will allow the growth of rich vegetation.

If this is followed by a period of intense heat with little moisture, the vegetation dries out, this dried-out vegetation can act as a huge pick-up mass. A single spark can set the entire area on fire.

You should always think about where you start a fire

Man is the biggest cause of forest fires. By some distance, they may have been started accidentally or as deliberate arson, but there are natural causes. Fires can be started by a lightning strike during a storm.

It is also possible that forest fires are caused by spontaneous ignition when a mass of dead vegetation decomposes. Heat is released in the process. You can feel this when you put your hand into a compost heap when this is intensified by the heat of the sun.

The dry outer layer of the compost mass may ignite after ignition. The fire will move quickly through the dry vegetation. The wind is a particular danger, as it can cause sparks to fly over long distances to start new fires elsewhere. The fire can move along the ground and consume fallen, leafy tree debris and low-lying shrubs.

This is known as a cruel fire, or a fire can move through the treetops. As a crown fire, this fire sucks all the oxygen from the area below and in many forests, it suffocates everything below. The most efficient way to prevent forest fires is through controlled burning, which diversifies local species and reduces the amount of fuel available for a wildfire.

The conclusion to Forest Fires

Try not to play with fire when you travel. Be always updated by the weather forecast if you plan to make a fire in the forest. Always check if the ground is wet enough or not. If it is dry, just a small fire can lead to a catastrophic wildfire that you may have to pay for. And that’s something you don’t want to.

This advice goes especially to all of you travelling as backpackers. Always check the ground before you make a fire in the forest or at a camping place. Use a rock or a grill that isn’t connected to the ground. If you do. Be sure to have water with you so that you can prevent a fire from happening. Travelling should be safe and you should also be thinking about the people living in the country you are visiting.

Be wise with fire.