Forest Fires: Can they actually help the enviornment?

Forest Fires: Can they actually help the enviornment?

Noah Kieth Spencer, Staff Writer

So almost everyone reading this here has probably been told that fire burns, so it must be bad, right? So, common sense would probably go to tell you that if a forest burns that it is probably bad, right? The answer is a little more complicated than a simple yes or no. When you think of a forest fire, you probably think of a huge wall of fire that only destroys anything in its path. However, let me tell you why these fires aren’t all just destruction and can actually lead to a healthier ecosystem in the long run.

Sierra Wild Fire: Led to the burning of 150 million trees

To understand the benefits of a forest fire, you must first understand how forested ecosystems function specifically for plantlife; As some of you may know, every plant competes for the moisture and nutrients in the soil to grow even bigger, and usually the higher density of plant life can lead to malnourishment in the soil creating a problem for trees and valuable plant life to grow further. This is why we weed our grass and gardens because weeds steal water and nutrients from more vital plants, which can and with enough irresponsibility can kill your lawn or garden. This is where a forest fire would come in as a forest fire burns through all of the competing plant life on the ground and leaves on most of the trees, clearing the way for more vital plants and replenishing soil full of nutrients that go straight back into the ecosystem.

To those that have been camping with a campfire, you probably know that when a fire burns anything, it leaves behind ash and soot that gets very messy if it gets on your clothes. Well, as it turns out, due to the extremely high carbon content of the ash and soot, it makes for an excellent fertilizer, and this is recommended by gardeners to use NATURAL wood ash to fertilize your gardens! There are even different types of insects that consume ash and excrete very nutrient-rich soils, which get redeemed by the forest again. Funnily enough, these insects are called “Ash Mites.”

The tricky part is that it isn’t the only thing being but by these fires. Pollution, such as plastic and processed goods that use chemicals, is extremely bad for the environment and can form microplastics that can get into the soil and into plants which in turn get eaten by animals and then eventually us, which poses a huge health risk for later generations.

Going off of more negative effects of forest fires is that eventually, over time, if there are repetitive fires multiple times in a row, it can burn entire forests down entirely, which in turn takes many decades to grow back to a fraction of what it was before.

But if we all do our part and keep ourselves from doing stupid things that cause fires like this, entire ecosystems and families who lose their homes won’t have to suffer for another idiocy.