If trees could talk, they would probably say something to the world about the way we allow fire hazards to mar or steal their beauty. They would probably ask us to protect them better, nurture them more and not allow our careless behaviors to threaten their safety and well-being. However, they aren’t able to say these things for themselves. They are silent victims of forest fires, brush fires, grass fires and more. There are many fire hazards to which that trees are vulnerable.
Lightning sometimes strike trees, causing them to ignite. Sometimes that act is the catalyst to forest fires. But as the Arbor Day Foundation indicates, often people are the culprits. Sometimes it’s outright arson, someone deliberately sets a fire where there are trees. Oftentimes people leave a campfire unattended and it grows into a wildfire. And then there are the times when people discard a lit cigarette and the embers begin to grow into something more than that first spark.
When looking at human causes versus lightning strikes, the Arbor Day Foundation credits 83% of the forest fires of 2006 to some type of human activity. They indicate that almost 4.4 million acres of forest were destroyed by fires credited to human causes in that same year.
In that same year, the fires causes by lightening was nearly 5.5 million acres. When it’s hot and dry, forest fires are more common. When it’s windy and there’s a forest fire, the wind contributes greatly to its spread across a wide area.
Lives, buildings and other infrastructure are lost in forest fires every year. Such fires are especially dangerous when they move into communities.
The following year, the Escondido Fire Department issued cautions about palm trees that was related to how close to plant them to structures and how well they were cared for. Those with leaf stem bases or fibrous leaves were especially vulnerable to fires. The department issued some maintenance ideas and advised that some palm trees who are not properly maintained will often become combustible. Their maintenance advice included removing any dead material and skinning the tree, keeping the tree healthy and stress-free and taking away any combustible material near the palm tree.
During Christmas season, many cautions go out about keeping the trees moist or wet, avoiding the use of candles on them and watching that they are not too close to electrical outlets and fireplaces.
On the treesaregood.com website, they further indicate that trees should be kept away from electrical lines. Along with other things they write, “A tree with a potential to fall into a utility line is a very serious situation.”