Wildfires are devastating no matter which way you look at them. Small or large, they leave behind a nasty scar on the earth for all to see. But do you know the true extent of damage that wildfires leave behind? Maybe not, but with the help of Protect our West and the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, we are doing our part to educate those who may not know or even realize the destruction left behind. Here are ten things you might not have known about wildfires.
1. In 2018, California was at the top of the list for most acres burned, with a whopping 1,823,153 acres total and second for the number of fires it had. (Source: National Interagency Fire Center.)
2. Fire retardant is actually not dropped directly on the fire, nor does it actually put out fires. Fire retardant is used as a “pre-attack” on wildfires, once the firefighters know which way it is going to go. You will see planes, the biggest carrying up to 8,000 lbs, drop retardant on an unburned area which lays directly in the fire’s path. The goal is to just slow the fire down to give the firefighters more time to fight it and get it under control. Retardant also costs a lot of money so when it is used, it is used carefully and diligently.
3. It seems California has the largest fires in the US, the largest one being the Mendocino Complex Fire back in July of 2018. It covered the span of four counties and 459,123 acres alone, which is double the amount of the next largest fire in CA.
4. Fires can build up energy, just like a storm can. When this happens, it makes fires extremely difficult to manage and contain. When the perfect elements fall into place, then things like “spotting” and “firenadoes” can happen. Spotting is when fires gain so much force they “jump” over roads, in this case, firefighters try to backburn to prevent this from happening.
5. Did you know that fires actually burn faster going uphill? Which goes against the law of gravity but, because of the molecular makeup of fire, they will burn hotter and faster moving up a mountain that going down. For every ten degrees of a slope, a fire can burn twice as fast as it normally would.
We know Smokey says it best, but with the fire season coming to an end this, all of us here at Cowboy Lifestyle Network want to remind you all that wildfires can be prevented and you can do your part. Whether it’s being aware of those around you, checking for dragging chains on your vehicle, not throwing cigarettes out the window, and making sure “out means out” with your campfires, we can do out part in preventing wildfires. If you enjoy a nice cold, Coors Banquet, you can also buy a case of Original Coors, in which some proceeds get donated directly back to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, which is at the heart of these wildfires. Whichever way you choose to do your part, we hope you will!
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