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What Happens To The Forest After A Fire?

Rick Rycroft
Associated Press
Fire burns in the grass near Bumbalong, south of the Australian capital, Canberra, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020.

Why do forest fires happen? What happens to the forest after a fire? Sometimes you send us questions about things you've heard about, and sometimes you send us questions about your experiences. We'll hear from 5-year-old Abby in Australia who wanted to know more about the bush fires near her home earlier this year. Liam and Emma tell us about their wildfire experiences in California, and we get answers to your questions from Ernesto Alvarado, professor at the University of Washington.

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While forest fires can happen almost anywhere, some parts of the world are more prone to them than others, because of weather conditions and landscape.

Many parts of Australia experience wild fires, or bush fires. The end of 2019 and beginning of 2020, summertime in the Southern Hemisphere, was a particularly bad fire season in Australia. Millions of acres burned. Homes and buildings were destroyed in some areas, and, very sadly, some people and many animals were killed.

"What happens to the forest after a big fire." -Abby, 5, Canberra, Australia

If you live in a part of the world where forest fires are common, your family should have a survival plan. Here's Abby's family's bushfire survival plan.

1. Monitor the radio for fire conditions. When the fire looks like it's getting close to emergency level then we send our child to stay with a friend. Have bags ready to go.

2. Continue to monitor conditions and hose down grass. Have buckets of water around the yard ready to put out any spot fires from embers.

3. Fill bathtubs and sinks inside for extra water. Keep pets inside.

4. If we are told to evacuate we turn off all electrical and gas. Take our bags and pets and evacuate the area.

5. If we are told it's too late to evacuate we stay inside with our pets, away from doors and windows with wet blankets until the worst has passed.

We also hear from a family that survived wildfire in California. You can learn more about wildfire planning from Cal Fire.

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