GET TO KNOW THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE FIRES

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Most states in the US have been experiencing intense wildfires this year and many neighborhoods, animals, and plants are affected by these fires. In Colorado, the Pine Gulch fires that burned 139,007 acres and the Cameron Peak fires that burned 124,026 are reported as the largest fires that occurred this year. Due to the sensitive air quality the area has, nearby residents in Grand Junction and Larimer County were ordered to evacuate their homes. As of now these wildfires are still ongoing.



Infographic by Francine Palmos. Source: Denver Post

But how do we really take care of the Wildfires?  Heather Berry, AP environmental science teacher said, “I think that educating everyone about the issue is the best thing that we can do. Also talking about them and why they are so big”. She and her students have been starting every single day this year with information about the fires. “We look at the maps, we look at the air quality, and we talk about them,” said Berry. To inform you more about the wildfires, here is a Q and A between the Chronicle and Berry.

Q: What causes the fires to happen?

A: We are in a drought. It’s been a hot and dry summer and a lot of that can be attributed to climate change as well as changing global temperatures, but a large part of it is poor forest management. Our forests are unhealthy and they haven’t been allowed to burn like they should.

Q: Why do forests need to be burned?

A: They need to burn in order to be healthy, so there should be fires every once in a while. In a healthy forest, if a fire starts, it spreads, but it doesn’t get huge just like a campfire.

Q: What is the main problem with these fires?

A: The problem with that is, by stopping all the forest fires from happening, it allows more dead leaves and branches and dead trees. Then when a bigger fire comes through, it gets hotter and hotter and it’s harder to stop. Those are the ones that cause more destruction.

Q: How do they affect our world?

A: Our air quality is absolutely terrible and has been. In fact, in California,  where there are many fires, it’s hazardous for anybody to be outside. Also, the decline in animals and plants because they can’t outrun the fire. When we look at the human impact, the structure loss is huge, people are losing their homes.

Q: What can we do to help lessen the fires?

A: The important thing to know is why there are fires going on. So we need to be careful about making sure that we don’t unintentionally start a fire just because they can get so big. Also don’t handle it on your own and let the professionals manage the forest fires.

HERE ARE LINKS TO CHECK THE AIR QUALITY AND WILDFIRES HAPPENING

Francine Palmos, Staff Reporter