How does chopping down trees in a forest fire help ? – Science


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The process of cutting down trees, or clearing brush during forest firefighting activities is referred to as “cutting a fireline”. Once the direction and speed of the fire is determined, fire crews may choose to cut a fireline ahead of the fire, effectively removing the fuel(wood/brush), in an attempt to stop or slow the spread of fire.

There are 3 main ways in which forest fires spread. The first is from burning material on the ground, where fire travels across small plants, dead leaves, brush, etc, along the ground, until it reaches the next tree, and so on.

The second is by sparks and flaming material carried by the wind into adjacent trees.

The third is called ‘canopy spread’, where fire spreads from the canopy of one tree to another. This is often the most fast-spreading method of fire spread, as winds have the most effect near the top of the fire.

Cutting a fireline creates a bare space where there isn’t really much to burn, and therefore, the fire stops spreading.

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