Destructive Fires

The United States now spends approximately $3 billion per year to fight fires in parks and forests. According to the National Park Service, nearly 85 percent of these wildland fires are caused by humans. The agency attributes “campfires left unattended, the burning of debris, negligently discarded cigarettes and intentional acts of arson” as the primary causes of these wildfires.

Climate change may also play a role—recent years have seen fire seasons in the U.S. that are on average 78 days longer than in 1970. Forest Service scientists believe the acreage burned may double again by mid-century if trends toward longer droughts and hotter conditions continue. Regardless of the big-picture causes, we know that educating people about the dangers of uncontrolled fires is vitally important.

The Solution

Learn a framework of minimum impact practices for reducing campfire impacts and give to Leave No Trace to expand these critical education and outreach efforts.

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