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wildfires

Wildfires: Dry, Hot, and Windy
Image: National Geographic/Mark Thiessen

Wildfires: Dry, Hot, and Windy

More than 100,000 wildfires burn each year in the U.S., blazing through an average of 4 to 5 million acres — and as many as 9 million acres in recent years.

Take a look at the conditions that fuel these uncontrolled blazes and the methods firefighters use to control, if not stop, them. Then find out how wildfires can help the forest ecosystem.

National Geographic
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Glossary of Fire Terms

Glossary of Fire Terms

How is "torching" different than "candling"? What does "extreme fire behavior" look like? Find out with this comprehensive fire glossary. More...

Article
NOVA/PBS
2013 Wildfires: Live Shot Interview with Dr. Doug Morton

2013 Wildfires: Live Shot Interview with Dr. Doug Morton

You might not think there would be a strong connection between NASA — the space agency — and fighting wildfires. But satellites are can be very important to tracking these blazes. More...

Video
The Mars Underground
Active Fire Mapping Program

Active Fire Mapping Program

Where are wildfires burning right now? This map shows fires of 100 acres or more occurring in timber areas, or a wildfire of 300 acres or more occurring in grass/sage. More...

Game
U.S. Forest Service
Fire “Tornado” Spotted

Fire “Tornado” Spotted

Fire whirls, fire devils, or firenados — these are other names for fire tornadoes. Explore this site to see how these "whirlwinds of flame" can form during a wildfire. More...

Images
National Geographic
Fire Behaviour

Fire Behaviour

A number of factors impact the size and ferocity of wildfires. From fuel loads to spacing and wind to slope, learn what makes these destructive forces even more severe. More...

Article
Ministry of Forests, British Columbia
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Fire Ecology

Fire Ecology

It was once believed that all fires were bad. But now there's plenty of evidence to suggest fires may be necessary in some ecosystems. More...

Article
Pacific Biodiversity Institute
History of Wildland Fire in Yellowstone

History of Wildland Fire in Yellowstone

The Yellowstone "summer of fire" raged for four months in 1988, destroying more than a million acres. Explore its causes and environmental impact. More...

Interactive
National Park Service
Nevada Wildfire Could Snuff Out a Rare Butterfly

Nevada Wildfire Could Snuff Out a Rare Butterfly

Wildfires can take out thousands of acres at a time. But could the 2013 Nevada wildfire also wipe out a rare butterfly species by destroying its habitat? More...

Article
NPR
Surprising Connection Between Beetle Attacks and Wildfire

Surprising Connection Between Beetle Attacks and Wildfire

What on Earth could NASA, beetles, and forest wildfires have in common? Quite a bit — but with some unexpected twists. Take a look. More...

Video
NASA
Wildfire Visualizations

Wildfire Visualizations

There’s nothing simple about forest fires. Scientists develop simulations to help them better understand wildfires, which may also help control them. More...

Video
UCAR
Wildfires Intensify Need for Forest Management

Wildfires Intensify Need for Forest Management

You've probably heard about or seen video of massive wildfires in recent years. Forest specialists say there's a reason for that, and something needs to be done to keep it from happening again and again. More...

Article
CS Monitor
Wildfires Will Worsen and Further Strain the Forest Service

Wildfires Will Worsen and Further Strain the Forest Service

Wildfires are expensive, environmentally and economically. A greater number of fires in recent years have cost more money to fight, and economists suggest it’s only going to get worse. More...

Article
NPR
Wildfires: Photo Gallery

Wildfires: Photo Gallery

A picture really can be worth a thousand words. These images capture the power of wildfires and the huge effort that goes into controlling them. More...

Images
National Geographic
Wildland Fires and Topography

Wildland Fires and Topography

Firefighters need a lot of info to fight wildfires successfully. Topographic maps can help them determine location, intensity, rate of spread, and direction of travel of wildfires. More...

Article
Idaho State University
Yellowstone Fire Images

Yellowstone Fire Images

See photos of the blazes that swept through Yellowstone National Park for four summer months in 1988. More...

Images
National Park Service

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