The Benefits of Forest Fires

Forest fires get a bad rap. Too often, with all the focus on the damage they could cause, we forget that they're actually necessary to keep the forest healthy and growing. BBC News explains how the build-up of vegetation can prevent seeds from germinating and stop the growth of new trees. Also, without a regularly occurring fire to destroy some of the vegetation, the forest grows extremely dense and becomes a massive source of fuel for future fires -- fires that will be much hotter and more destructive. These days, the BBC writes, fires are purposely started, under very controlled conditions, in order to control the threat of future infernos. But with the cost of these measures and the stigma that still surrounds forest fires, park officials wonder if there's a better way.

-- Lisa Lombardi

Filed To: Science
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