*Wildfires Field Trip


For many years, fire supression was used to controal and eliminate wildland fires. This was thought to be the right thing to do. Over time however, the duff, or underbrush piled up and fuel (the materials that fire feeds on) was allowed to accumulate to the point that were a fire to occur, disaster would almost certainly result.

More recently, research (and physical evidence) has shown that allowing naturally occurring fires to burn is one way that nature takes care of housecleaning. Forest resource management now uses a technique called prescribed burns where they perform controlled burning to help that process along. These methods have their supporters and their opponents. While on the positive side controlled burns help the health of wildlands, a prescribed fire that gets out of control can quickly turn the tide of supporters against this policy as evidenced in the summer 2000, Los Alamos fires.


  1. Students will learn about wildland fires and what causes them.
  2. Students will learn about fire suppression versus prescribed burn techniques.
  3. Students will learn about what conditions need to exist in order for a fire to start and stay buring.
  4. Students will learn about the destructive force of fire but will also learn why fire is necessary.
  5. Students will learn about plants that need fire in order to survive.


  • How do wildland fires start?
  • What 3 components are necessary for fire to exist?
  • What possible benefits can result from wildfires?

Terms To Learn

bucket drops
burning index
crown fire
drought index
dry lightning
fire behavior
fire break
fire dependence
fire line
fire prescription
fire retardant
fire scars
fire storm
fire suppression

fire triangle
ground fire
head of fire
hotshot crew
prescribed fire
prescribed natural fire
project fire
red flag
spot fire
wildland fire




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