Who and why deliberately set fire to forests in the United States: the immigrant experience

Being a huge country, USA amazing variety of nature and climate zones. Hawaii’s perpetual summer, while Alaska most of the year under snow and ice. Dry and burning sun of Arizona is radically different from Washington state, where clouds and rain can bother you for weeks. This tells the author of the channel “Travel at the wheel and on foot” on “Yandex.Zen”.

Кто и зачем преднамеренно поджигает леса в США: опыт иммигранта

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And even within the same state, the weather conditions are very different. Let’s Take California. On the Pacific coast humid breeze, the coolness of the fog. A dozen or so kilometers inland, and you’re not sure where to go from radiant heat. But it is necessary to climb the mountain, and you’ll need all the clothes are in your Luggage and at the same time.

Flora and fauna are also changing beyond recognition. Half an hour ago you were surrounded by cacti, and now you admire the tall pine trees near the ski slopes. From the fur seal rookeries is not far to snakes and turtles, which soon will be replaced by squirrels and deer.

And, of course, in the United States a lot of forests, mainly coniferous. And where the forest, there is fire.

Different power, area, and duration, they are raging continuously. There is always something somewhere is burning, smoldering or burning. Sometimes the situation becomes catastrophic. Burn extensive areas along with the animals living there, the fire gets close to the highway, destroys the house.

Studying natural fires, people improve their methods of dealing with them. It turned out that the main causes of fires are lightning and human error. The earlier the suppression, the more chances to defeat fire element. And this fire have time to notice.

To this end, in the mid-twentieth century was built an observation tower-cabin. They are located on the tops with a good view 360 degrees. To reach them, most often, can be broken-down dirt road or Hiking trail.

During the fire danger in the cabin on duty employee. His shift lasts for several days. In the cockpit in addition to the required equipment has a simple decor and household items. Is that allowed inside everyone, a duty gladly shares with visitors the details of his work.

While Hiking in the mountains I was lucky enough repeatedly to visit these places and hear many entertaining stories from the lives of the firefighters observers. I was surprised to learn that forest fires are not only natural but also man-made. It is not about a forgotten campfire or discarded cigarette butt.

There are so-called “prescribed” burning serving to prevent more severe fires. Here’s how it works. Periodically in the woods, under large trees, grows a thick undergrowth of bushes and young trees. The underbrush, withered grass, is an ideal combustible material. If it is not cleaned, the fire, which sooner or later will break out, will be terrible and will not spare anything around.

Remove the lower flammable forest level cannot be changed manually. This will need to mobilize for clearing forests half the population of the country. And then it was decided to burn the underbrush.

In practice, it looks like. Firefighters dressed in fire suits and armed with gas burners, lining up a chain. Slowly moving through the specified area, safety precautions, they set fire to the Bush.

“Feeding” the fire without the fire do not allow it to spread to large trees. The fire only briefly passes through the lower part of the trunks without doing harm.

But that’s not the whole benefit from prescribed fires. There are pine cones which open and release the seeds only under the influence of heat from the flame. Of course, it should not be a force to burn down pine trees with their cones and seeds. Light the fire – that’s it.

The original column published in the blog “Travel at the wheel and on foot” on “Yandex.Zen”

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