Wildfires: How They Form, And Why They’re So Dangerous

By Austa Somvichian-Clausen
National Geographic
October 11, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

As deadly wildfires continue to rage across Northern California’s wine country, with winds picking up speed overnight and worsening conditions to now include a combined 54,000 acres of torched land, it now seems more important than ever to understand how wildfires work, and their lasting implications on our health and the environment.Though the exact source of Sonoma County’s wildfires is unclear, authorities have pointed to the fact that 95 percent of fires in the state of California are started by people, according to CNN. Meteorologists aren’t yet able to forecast wildfire outbreaks, but there are three conditions that must be present in order for a wildfire to burn. Firefighters refer to it as the fire triangle: fuel, oxygen, and a heat source. 

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