During the past years, many U.S. states had to deal with severe consequences of wildfire. For instance, last November, there were 14 casualties because of a devastating firestorm that started in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This destruction among others was not caused by nature, but by humans. A new study from the University of Massachusetts discovered that 84% of American wildfire is actually triggered by people.
The report in question is one of the most in-depth studies to this day that focused on American wildfire. The study collected data from a lengthy period of 20 years during which there occurred a number of 1.5 million such devastating events. Professor Bethany Bradley was the one who led the research together with her fellow scientists. The findings of the study suggest that the fire cases induced by humans were three times more frequent than the natural ones triggered by scorching heat and lightning. Moreover, each year there is an average of 40,000 more such phenomena than the precedent year.
The report did not uncover only fires that people start directly, but it also discovered the incidents that humans are guilty of in an indirect way. The human activity is expanding the American wildfire in areas where lightning cannot reach easily. They are responsible for growing the fire niche which is measured based on three factors namely fuel mass, dryness, and sources of ignition. This is how places that had been barely touched by lightning in the past are now going through massive firestorms.
The study eliminated fires that are under the control of authorities in areas far away from social establishments. Other findings reported that the country had to mitigate the effects of American wildfire through funds valued at $2 billion accumulated in the past years. Fires are usually started by people during spring and fall, while lightning strikes mostly the mountainous west areas and almost exclusively during summer time.
The peak moment when people cause fires is the 4th of July when citizens celebrate the Independence Day of the United States with firecrackers. On this day only, there are more than 7,700 wildfires that engulf nature. Moreover, the study identified the top reasons behind fires that are results of human activity. These are children, arson, burning debris, campfires, and equipment use.
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