04 Dec 18

Learn about the risks of fire in the dry season

Human action over the past three centuries has destroyed the natural resources, once abundant in the different regions of Planet Earth. As major losses, there is deforestation, emission of pollutants and trafficking of species of wild fauna and flora.

Newton’s Third Law, called the Law of Action and Reaction, describes that for every action developed under a body there is a reaction of equal intensity, in the opposite direction to the initial action. And the laws of physics can be observed in everyday life.

The damage that the human species causes to nature comes back in the form of excessive heat, long droughts, lack of water, high rates of ultraviolet radiation and thousands of fire outbreaks. All this is a manifestation of nature in reaction to the disastrous activities of millions of people.

Due to the frequent, long and intense droughts that hundreds of Brazilian cities have passed in recent years, it is imperative that there be an alert for the main causes of fire and the forms of prevention.

It is a fact that, in certain biomes, there are natural fires during the dry season. This occurs, for example, in the brazilian cerrado. Electric discharges in the dry vegetation are the fires for fires that, because they are inherent to the drought environment, do not cause major damage and are naturally controlled at the beginning of the rainy season.

However, the example quoted is punctual, very different from the cases of fires provoked, directly or indirectly, by human action.

The scarce vegetation, due to deforestation and the predominance of monocultures around cities (virgin forests maintain good relative humidity levels throughout the year, unlike monocultures, which quickly dissipate the humidity), makes the season drought is increasingly intense and lasting.

This is a dangerous recipe for creating multiple outbreaks of fire around urban centers.

See the main causes of fire in the dry season

In a situation like this, the main causes of fires are:

1- Fire provoked in agricultural areas during manual harvesting of sugarcane (even though it is an activity prohibited in several regions of the country during the dry season, many owners still use this illegal practice);

2- Bonfires made in dry vegetation and pasture area;

3- Cigarette tips thrown on tufts of dry bush, even if the amount of vegetation is small, as the fire can always spread.

It’s important to remember that the winds over the vast deforested areas cause the flames to spread with greater speed, making it difficult to control and extinguish the fires.

According to INPE, there were 2,221 outbreaks in the state of São Paulo in the first three weeks of September 2017.

O número de incêndio na época de estiagem tem aumentado no estado de São Paulo, que registrou, em 2017, 2.221 focos.

Fires pollute the atmospheric air; increase the temperature of the region of occurrence of the foci; reduce the relative humidity of the air; they eliminate wild animal and plant species that live in the forests, prairies and the regions around the plantations; drastically improve soil quality; and cause, among other damages, respiratory problems for people and animals.

Therefore, during the dry season, it is always important to be aware of measures to prevent fire places. Some of these important measures are described below:

1- Increase the rigor of rural inspection in order to prevent the burning of sugarcane, and seriously punish rural landowners who do not obey the rules;

2- Faced with a focus, industries and rural properties that are nearby and that have large water reservoirs can contribute, controlling the outbreaks. For these cases, bowl or tubular type water tanks are the best options because they give a lot of water outlet pressure;

3- Do not build campfires. Even though seemingly within control, the fires can quickly turn into an uncontrolled fire, especially when there is wind, which causes the flames to jump abruptly from one area to another. Therefore, never think that the fire is under control, as a disaster can happen in the blink of an eye;

4- Do not throw cigarette butts in the environment, as you can cause large fires.

Qualquer foco de incêndio na época da estiagem pode tomar grandes proporções.

Caution: If a fire is identified on a vacant lot, on a pasture in a rural area, near the highway or anywhere, it is important to report immediately to the local Fire Department.

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