Dangers of Wildland Fire

smoke from a prescribed wildland fire at Jewel Cave
Smoke from wildfires can be hazardous to the public’s health.

Always be Aware of the Dangers of Wildland Fires

residential house with wildland fire smoke in the distance
A fire burning near a home may cause damage.

Although fire can benefit an ecosystem, it may threaten human life or property. If the weather conditions are very dry or windy, fire burns much faster. A fire burning near homes may damage those houses. Smoke can also damage homes. In a building, smoke smells unpleasant, leaves ashes, and affects human health. In addition, smoke can make it difficult to see when driving.

cars stuck in traffic due to fire
Smoke can reduce visibility on a road, making driving difficult.

Remember that fire is a powerful force. Only trained professionals should decide when and where a prescribed fire is to be started or permitted to burn.

Campfires or the burning of garbage should be done only after reviewing important rules and regulations and after careful consideration of the chances that the fire will not burn out of control. High winds, hot days, and lots of dry materials in the area are dangerous conditions for starting a fire. Like Smokey Bear says, “Help prevent wildfires.”

smokey bear shaking hands with the public at a backyard BBQ
Smokey Bear visits the 2010 Great American Backyard Campout at Sky Meadows passing along the message to “help prevent wildfires.”

Photo credit: Virginia State Parks

Part of a series of articles titled Fire Basics for Kids.

Last updated: December 22, 2016