Wildfires are fires that burn out of control in a natural area, like a forest, grassland, or prairie. They often begin unnoticed. They spread quickly, and can damage natural resources, destroy homes, and threaten the safety of the public and firefighters.
Humans cause most wildfires. It can be an accident, like when people don't take care of their campfire properly, burn debris, or are careless when getting rid of their cigarettes. It can also be on purpose, which is called arson. Lightning and lava also can also causes wildfires. Wildfires are more common when conditions are dry. High winds can make them spread more quickly.
Although there are no guarantees of safety if you live in an area threatened by a wildfire, you can take actions to protect yourself. You should have a disaster plan. Being prepared can help reduce fear, anxiety, and losses. If you do experience a disaster, it is normal to feel stressed. You may need help in finding ways to cope.
Federal Emergency Management Agency
- Active Fire Mapping Program (Department of Agriculture)
- After a Wildfire (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- Disaster Distress Helpline: Wildfires (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
- Federal Emergency Management Agency Also in Spanish
- National Fire News -- Current Wildfires (National Interagency Fire Center)
- United States Fire Administration
- Wildfire Smoke (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- Wildfires (Department of Homeland Security) Also in Spanish
- Wildfires: Information for Parents (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in Spanish
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Human-ignited fires result in more extreme fire behavior and ecosystem impacts.
- Article: Impact of Short-Term Air Pollution on Respiratory Infections: A Time-Series Analysis...
- Article: Long-Term Health Impacts of Wildfire Exposure: A Retrospective Study Exploring Hospitalization...
- Wildfires -- see more articles
- Avoiding Wildfire Damage: A Checklist for Homeowners (Federal Emergency Management Agency) - PDF