Forest fires have always led to massive destruction on the environment. However, it is not all doom and gloom when it comes to this natural phenomenon. We take a look at some of the pros and cons of forest fires.
1. Forest fires help to kill disease: There are numerous insects and diseases that will prey on the growth of the forest. Although we fight fires to save trees, the fact is that more insects kill trees every year than forest fires do. Without fire, a forest struggles to adapt against infestations and sets the stage to have a more serious fire later on than if a controlled burn took place right now.
2. It provides nutrients for new generations of growth: Forests need to experience change in order to survive. Fire helps to encourage the decomposition process of vegetative matter so that nutrients return to the soil. Some plants even need the intense heat from fire to be able to begin the germination process. If fires were prevented consistently in a forest, eventually it would just grow old and die because there wouldn’t be another generation to take its place.
3. It refreshes the habitat zones: Fire clears out plants and trees to make more natural resources available to the habitat. Fewer trees means more water becomes available for the remaining plants and animals that call the area their home. New grass and shrubs are food sources for a number of animals as well. Ground cover that comes back after a fire becomes a new micro-habitat. Everything is refreshed with a fire.
4. Low intensity fires don’t usually harm trees: The bark of a tree is like an armored shell against fire, pests, and other things that could damage them. Most forest fires burn at low temperature levels when conditions are optimal and this causes minimal damage to the trees of the forest when it occurs. The end result is a clearing of the ground floor of the forest while the trees are able to continue standing majestically.
5. Decreases the Wastes on Forests: Forests have a lot of waste that ends up building up over time and these wastes can help create wildfires. If a large wildfire breaks out it might take weeks to control it and the damage it can cause is just too extensive to understand for us. Waste such as dead leaves on the ground can be pretty useful for wildfires to feed on and small forest fires just deal with these wastes properly without going out of control.
6. It Can Clear the Path for Sunshine: If vegetation grows a lot it might block the sun for other vegetation on the grown. If this vegetation on the ground doesn’t get any sunlight then it is not going to grow properly – as well know, plants need sunlight. Forest fires help sunlight get through after they destroy what is blocking it from reaching the ground, allowing other plants on the ground to grow.
7. Decreases the Amounts of Diseases: The forest has a lot of insects filled up with diseases that might grow out of proportion. If they do grow out of proportions, they just might end up spreading far enough so that the diseases reach our populations. Forest fires prevent them from growing out of proportions.
8. Clears unwanted vegetation: Forest fires play an important role in clearing unwanted vegetation that may be hindering the growth of other important plants.
9. Natural way of weeding: Forest fires are a natural way of removing weed from the forest. This also play an important role in getting rid of the destructive animals that may be found deep inside the forest.
10. Survival for the fittest: Forest fires enforce the evolution theory of survival for the fittest which also helps to create a balance in the ecosystem.
1. A forest fire sets up the potential for soil erosion to occur: Forest fires clear the underbrush away and encourage new growth, but there is a period of time between the fire and the new growth where the forest is vulnerable.
2. Forest fires always bring death in some form: Maybe it’s just the weak plants of the forest that are killed during a fire, but there is always some sort of death that happens when a fire occurs. Sometimes it is the firefighters who are tasked with stopping the fire. It could be animals or pets.
3. Uncontrolled fires can cause localized air pollution: Despite the amount of global development that has occurred, there are many forests that are difficult or nearly impossible to reach. Fires in these areas are left to burn in an uncontrolled fashion and this creates air pollution which can affect the local environment and make it difficult to breathe.
4. Homes can be destroyed without compensation: Did you know that many homeowners insurance policies don’t cover damages that would be caused by a forest fire? It may be required as a rider to a policy instead of being included in the general policy. This may leave property owners with nothing after a forest fire goes through because they didn’t double-check their insurance coverage on a regular basis.
5. It Might Get Out of Control: Even though we can usually control forest fires properly and make them do what we want and then put it out, fire is never predictable and if we fail to consider this or that factor, it can just get out of proportion.
6. Contributes to Soil Erosion: As the soil burns down it destroys some of the qualities that this soil has. If the fire grows to proportions that are going to make a part of the soil die completely, then this is going to contribute to the total soil erosion of the territory.
7. Animal and Plant Species Can Be Lost: Animals and plants have no way to deal with wildfires – at least not like we do. This means that if a determined species isn’t protected from wildfires it is possible that we lose it entirely.
8. Leads to decreased wildlife: Forest fires sometimes burn wildlife that are a natural tourist attraction which reduces the number of certain species in the forest.
9. Leads to air pollution: Forest fires definitely lead to air pollution that may in the long run result in the depletion of the ozone layer.
10. Leads to encroachment: Forest fires destroy a huge chunk of the forest which leave many trees dead. This gives way to encroachment of the forest by human activities.