Forest Fires – Classification, Causes, Effects, Control and Uses in Forest Management

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Fire, as a general term, is applied to common physical phenomenon resulting from the rapid combustion of Oxygen with a substance and characterized by heat, light and usually flame.

In the real history of civilization, there is absolutely no doubt that man would never have progressed without the discovery of fire. The great, amazing flames could do no other – warm the body and cook food. However, fire, unchecked, can also create massive destruction and chaos.

The discovery of fire has perhaps been one of the greatest innovations of all time. Almost everyone basically knows what a fire looks and feels like. But there are actually four parts to a fire, all equally dangerous; (a) Fire gas: These are the gases created by the combustion process. They’re invisible to the naked eye, but they exist and include such poisonous substances as carbon monoxide. (b) Flame: This is the light given off by the burning gas. As long as the three essential ingredients, fuel, oxygen, and heat, are there, it can be seen. (c) Heat: This is the part of the fire that you feel as warmth. It can also burn your skin. A normal fire usually burns at around 1,100º. Most turkeys are cooked at 400º, so a normal fire is about three times as hot. (d) Smoke: Smoke is a harmful vapor cloud mixed with a fine power of solid particles. A large number of fire injuries are caused by smoke inhalation, which damages the lungs. This is why most firefighters were masks and air packs.

Forest Fire

A forest fire is unenclosed and freely spreading combustion which consume the natural fuels of a forest i.e. grass, shrubs and trees etc. Fire affects the trees and other vegetation both physically by burning the biomass of the plants as well as by injuring the plants which, becomes susceptible to attack of pathogens. Besides the trees, the physical, chemical and biological properties of soil are also badly affected. Thus soil becomes unfit for vegetational growth under certain conditions. Similarly wildlife is also affected. In fact the damage fire cause to the forest economy is greater than all the damage caused by harmful insects and diseases of wood taken together.

Besides the adverse affects the fire has also some positive aspects, when it is applied under controlled conditions. It helps in silvicultural operations like: natural regeneration, modification of cover type, and also it can be used for range management like improvement pasture lands and change cover type.

So fire is powerful ecological factor, which plays a major role in both construction and destruction of ecosystem. It can improve the ecosystem when applied under controlled conditions, but on the other hand it causes a great destruction of ecosystem when it is under uncontrolled condition. It is therefore, necessary to rake suitable steps and operation to control it.

Usually, forest fires occur in tropical rain forests and coniferous forests after dry spells. The resinous needles of coniferous trees provide ideal fuel for wildfires, as well as the leaves of evergreen broad-leaved trees like holly, evergreen oak, and eucalyptus. In Australia, where eucalyptus grows in the bush (open forest land), bush fires are a common threat.

Forest fires are fought very differently from structural fires. Organizations like the U.S. Forest Service has to protect thousands of acres of wilderness, sometimes putting out huge blazes that cover miles. Smoke jumpers are specially trained firefighters who begin extinguishing flames by jumping from airplanes because it’s the fastest, and sometimes easiest, way to get to the scene of the fire. The hotshots are the other half of the service, following close behind the first jumpers. These people clear makeshift roads and launch the main attack on the blaze. They keep fighting fires for days at a time, grabbing meals or short rests in between work.

A huge, roaring wall of open flame rushes toward you. Thick clouds of billowing smoke waft upward from the burning fire. A wildfire has the devastating power to wipe away acres and acres of forest each year. To prevent forest fires, protect yourself, and contribute to the conservation effort, continue on to explore this section.

Classification of Forest Fires

Forest fires may be divided into three classes: Surface fire, Crown fire and Ground fire.

Surface Fire

A fire that burns surface litter, other loose debris of the forest floor, and small vegetation. A surface fire may and often does burn up into the taller vegetation and the free crowns as it progresses. This is called crowing out, but it is not a true crown fire. Seeds may escape from serious injuries in surface fire. This is a common type of fire in Chir Pine of forest.

Crown Fire

A fire that advances from top to top of trees or shrubs more or less independently of the surface is called crown fire. This is the fastest spreading fire of all forest fires, and therefore most dangerous. Usually such fires consume, at least kill every thing from the ground upward.

Ground Fire

A fire that consumes the organic material beneath the surface litter of the forest floor is ground fire. In many forest types organic material in various stages of decomposition accumulates on top of the mineral soil. A fire spreading in and consuming such material, as in peat beds, the fire may penetrate a number of feet below the surface and travel entirely underground. They are least spectacular, slowest-moving and often hard to detect.

In actual fire situations, these kinds of fires may occur simultaneously and in all kind of combinations. A surface fire may spread into the crowns and develop into a crown fire. A crown fire may drop to the ground and becomes a surface fire. Similarly, a surface fire may develop into ground fire.

Causes of Forest Fire

It is a matter of utmost importance that the causes of forest fires must be known. This information is wanted not primarily for historical descriptive purposes but for practical use planning fire prevention for the elimination of each source of fire. Before fire prevention planning the causative agencies responsible for starting fires must be identified and located. The common causes which are identified by U.S. Forest service are:


A fire caused directly or indirectly by lightening. It is a natural cause of fire in high hill coniferous forests. Lightening generally accompanied by rain which prevent the spread of such fires as many have been stated, but this cause may be responsible for serious fires, if occur in accessible areas where suppression is difficult. Or if accompanied by low rainfall and strong winds which accelerate the spread of fires.

Debris Burning

A fire spreading form any fire originally set for the purpose of clearing land, or for rubbish, garbage, range, stubble, or meadow burning. The forest fires which originate from fires set for land management or cleaning land for any purpose, including cultivation, pastoral purposes or for cleaning area from weeds etc, and it became uncontrolled and spread over the entire area. The cause of such fires are carelessness and ignorance, but not for all, as there is same risk more or less inherent in fire use.


A fire willfully set by anyone to burn vegetation or properly not owned or controlled by him and without consent of the owner or his agent. The common motive in such willful burning is to destroy inedible grasses, herbs, shrubs and Un-decomposed organic matters and to produce in their place palatable grasses and other vegetation which comes after the first rainfall.


A fire caused by smokers, matches, or by burning tobacco in any form. It includes the widest range of people and is hardest to identify. This is a major cause of fire in most of the countries and cause fire only because of carelessness of smokers.


A fire except one caused by smokers resulting from lumbering. (Lumbering operations include all activities with harvesting or processing of wood for use or sale).

This is a specific occupational group. In past, it has been a major source of some of the   most destructive fires. Through education, self discipline and   law enforcement this cause has been reduced to relatively small proportion.


A fire resulting from maintenance of right of way or construction or operation of a common-carrier railroad. Fires may be started by railroad equipment, railroad personnel, or passengers in many different ways but one thing in common the origin was on or near the right of way and had some thing to do with railroading.


A fire started for cocking, or for providing light or warmth and that spreads sufficiently from its source to require action by a fire control agency. Fires started by railroad or lumbering employees in connection with their work are usually excluded. Such fires are built by many people as hunters, hikers, fishermen, picnickers etc. Education to change people’s attitudes and habits is the basic prevention approach.


A fire of known cause that cannot properly be classified under any of the other seven standard causes. (Fires of unknown origin are classified under most probable cause and not under miscellaneous).   

Except lightening which is due to unpreventable natural cause, all the other causes of fire are directly or indirectly traceable to the acts of man. Fire caused by lightening in general negligible proportion of the total number of fires occurring annually in Pakistan. Most of the forest fires in Pakistan are started by man and it is unfortunately true that in most cases they are deliberately started. During the hot dry season preceding the break of the monsoon, it is easy for a man provided with a box of matches to start a fire without risk of being discovered. The commonest motive in such willful burning is to destroy the lough, inedible shoots of grasses and to produce in their place tender shoots for their cattle.

Effects of Forest Fire

A wide range and series of effects results from forest fires. Some of these may be immediate and readily apparent, and some may be delayed and difficult to detect.

Fire brings about various changes in the forest through physical, biological and chemical actions. Some of fire effects are grouped as:

Effects on Trees

The fire effects on tree consist of:

Physical Damage to the Trees

Any tree can be killed by fire of sufficient duration and intensity. In forest fires of high intensity and considerable duration, killing practically all frees, differences in fire resistance in individual trees and species become unimportant. With fires of lower intensity in which only a part of the forest stand is killed, relative differences between trees in fire resistance and susceptibility to injury become important in control of wild as well as prescribed fires.

Diseases and Insects Relations:

The most serious aspect of fire injury to living tree is that it frequently increases susceptibility to disease and insect attack. Much insects attack both endemic and epidemic which, are induced by fire. In the case of disease, the most frequent and damaging result is the increasing incidence of root and butt roots, which is a long time and cumulative effect.

Effects of fire of forest microclimate and vegetation:

Forest fire has profound effect on the origin, composition and continuance of forest type.  Partial or complete destruction of an existing forest and related vegetation cover type may profoundly change the entire forest environment. Forest fire also affect the climatic factors like temperature,  Edaphic factor, Humidity, water and nutrient cycle, biotic factors etc. by affecting these climatic factors the composition of species is also affected. The fire tolerant species always increase in abundance at the expense of forest sensitive associates (e.g. Chir pine as sub climax). Forest fires also increase environmental pollution. Open ground surface with unstable soil conditions and high intensity rainfall. Permits soil erosion and serious flood damage.

Effects on Soil

The fire affects the physical, chemical, biological properties of soil as;

Fire Effects on Physical Properties of Soil:

Following are the different effects of fire on the physical properties of soil.

Organic matter:

Loss of organic matter is one of the major effects of fire on soil. Fire speed up the normal process of mineralization of organic matter, achieving in a few minutes, so, microbes which consume these organic matters are eliminated from soil also the water holding capacity of the soil is decreasing because of the loss of organic matter, and the runoff and erosion is increases.

The loss of surface organic matter depends upon fire duration, intensity and fuel moisture.                                .                            

Structure and porosity:

Fire removes all forest flora and exposes the mineral soil to the impact of raindrops can lead to a loss of structures in the surface layers. This can reduce infiltration rate and increase surface runoff which can lead to erosion. In a hot ground fire, colloidal organic matter in the surface mineral layers may be destroyed, accompanied by a loss of structure and a reduction in porosity.


Fire reduces transpiration and interception losses in proportion to the reduction in foliage. As forest reduces the infiltrationrate and less water enters the soil, so less water is available for storage.

Fire reduces the infiltration in several ways; by loss of mineral soil structure, by the plugging of micro-pores with ashes, by the formation of a charred crust, by the development of water repellent layer and by the loss of organic matter because of which water holding capacity decreases.


Fire effects soil temperature both in the long and short term. The long term effects, generally, involves an increase in soil temperature. By darkening the soil surface, which promotes absorption of solar energy, and by reducing the   depth of the surface organic accumulation the transfer of heat to the mineral soil becomes easy.

The short term effects on the soil temperature are created by energy release during bum. Surface temperature increased as high as 1000 °C. 4.3.2.

Fire Effects on Chemical Properties of Soil:


The ash left by the fire consist largely of soluble oxides the oxides are rapidly change to carbonates, which have alkaline reaction tends to neutralize acidity in the soil. Consequently, soil pH generally increases following a fire. The extinct and duration of the increase well depend on the intensity of fire, the organic matter consumed, and the buffering capacity of the soil. II.   Effects on nutrient availability: Fire induces a variety of chemical changes in the soil.

  • Carbon is released as gaseous oxides.
  • Nitrogen is lost as temperature raises about 300 °C.
  • Sulphur and Phosphorus are also subjected to loss during fire.
  • Many other nutrients are removed from the site in the form of fly ash that is carried up with the smoke.
  • The total quantity of Calcium and Magnesium Ion the forest floor may be increased sufficiently by low to moderate intensity of fire.

Fire also improves the availability of nutrient by converting unavailable mineral nutrients and un-decomposed organic matter to a soluble form that is available to plants.

Fire Effects on Soil Biology:

Typically, fires produce an initial reduction in a micro-flora population, as micro-flora of the surface layer are normally killed during a fire thus reduction occurs in soil organisms, but in many cases by increasing the average soil temperature, the number of organism present also increases. Chemical effects may also stimulate biological activities because of increased soil pH.

Fire Effects on Animals (Wildlife)

Fire effects wildlife in two major ways;

Direct effect

The direct effects of fire on animal are mixed. Theses effects depend upon the mobility of the animals, the intensity of the fire, and the rate of spread of fire. Obviously the animals with low mobility such as the young ones, the eggs, and fledging stage of birds are adversely affected by fire.

Indirect effect

Indirect effects of fire on animals are of much greater importance than the direct effects. As fire changes the environment, there is normally a change in the abundance, distribution, productivity, and species of animal occupying in area.

When fire burns the vegetation and results in new composition of vegetation with its own characteristics fauna, such fires serves to increase or decrease both the diversity and the abundance of fauna. But in some cases the species of many birds animals are absent in completely burnt area.

Effects on soil erosion:

Fire increases the rate of soil erosion as the vegetation is removed by fire because of which interception and resistance to runoff is decreased. Also because of lack of organic matter and porosity the infiltrative capacity of soil is decreased while runoff and erosion are increases. Bear soil is also easily eroded by wind so fire has great effect on soil erosion.

Use of Fire in Forest Land Management

Controlled and directed fire can be made useful servant in specific situation.

Use of Fire in Silviculture

Natural Regeneration

Fire is often used to add natural regeneration in conifer forests. Seeds of most forest species, especially conifers germinate and grow best on mineral soil surface. Fire will consume surface litter and exposing mineral soil, and also reduce competition from grasses and other subordinate vegetation. Besides fire also helps in the breaking of dormancy of hard coated seeds, after which the seed can germinate generally.

Clearing of Land for Regeneration

Fire is sometime use for clearing of land. The large volume of slash, usually remaining after logging is not only increase fire hazard but also prevent natural or, artificial regeneration. Applied with skill, fire can be a mean of thinning over dense stand in certain situation.

Change or Modification of Cover Type

Fire is often used as a mean of maintaining or bringing about a desirable forest cover type or species composition from mans stand point. It may be desired to convert non productive or semi productive area to high productive area.

Use of Fire in Range Management

The practice of burning to stimulate forest production is one of the values of fire. The use fire in relation range management is briefly sketched below.

Change of Cover Type

Millions of acres of land supporting weeds, bushes, are forest types whose forage production can be greatly increased by conversion to grassland or some other more desirable forage cover by using fire.

But for the best result, the use of forest in forage type conversion requires sound and thorough ecological information, understanding of fire effects, accurate knowledge of fire behavior, skill in its application, and good follow up to ensure the beneficial affects of fire.

Improvement or Restoration of Existing Pasture Lands:

Inforested areas where timber is the principal crop, the aim in using fire for grazing purpose is essentially to improve forest production without changing the major cover type.

  • Burning improves the grazing by the following:
  • Causing forage to freshen and become suitable for use about a month earlier on burnt as against unborn range.
  • Removing the mass of old decay resistant wiregrass and pine needles so that cattle can get the new growth easily.
  • Increasing the quantity and quality of the forage on burnt areas.

Uses of Fire in Wildlife Management:

Fire and wildlife have had a long and intimate association both in and out of a forest environment. Fire has, of course, killed much wildlife. More importantly however, it has had a profound effect on food and cover conditions, both detrimental and beneficial. Fire is an efficient and economical tool for improving food and cover condition for certain wildlife species. The use of fire primarily for wildlife purpose seldom fits in with silvicultural aims.

Some areas are classified as more valuable for game than for timber production and managed accordingly. It is here that fire is used to a limit extant fore game purpose. The aim is to reduce brush and timber cover and to encourage creation of grasses and browsing cover, so that the food conditions improve and on areas, primarily managed for game.

Uses of Fire in Disease Control:

Fire is used successfully to control brown spot disease in Chir pine. The danger of certain insect population developing in slash and attacking green timber is an important factor promoting slash disposal in some situation. Fire is often employed to dispose of insect or disease infected trees in control operation. Most of ground and surface fires, which are notso dangerous to trees but can help In controlling the insects and other fungal or bacterial diseases which can ultimately kill the tree in latter stages.

Uses in Watershed Management:

Consideration of fire in the management of forest and other wild land areas for watershed purposes centers on the changes that may be induced by change of existing cover, which may affect water interception and use, erosion and infiltrative capacity of that catchments area.

Control of Forest Fires

Under the subject of fire control is included prevention of the start of fires plus all activities carried out prior to suppression, directed towards reduction of the fire danger and toward affective suppression of fire. For the purpose of this discussion fire control will be considered under its three main subdivisions.

Under the subject of fire control is included prevention of the start of fires plus all activities carried out prior to suppression, directed towards reduction of the fire danger and toward affective suppression of fire. For the purpose of this discussion fire control will be considered under its three main subdivisions.


In any country where forest fires do even slight damage, measures should be taken towards there prevention. While it is obviously no possible to remove all chances of fire, a reduction inthe number of man-caused fires can readily be accomplished by the following means.


It can serve as very real weapon against fire. But constant patience of persistence is required through this method for controlling fire does not yield immediate results but very effective. Through radio, television, newspapers, magazines, posters, signs, lectures, demonstration and personal contacts educating the people about fire prevention and motivating the to cooperate in fire prevention also education of school children is extremely important.


Education of the people may reduce the number fires starting and the size some of the fires that occur, but many activities of men certainly can not be controlled by that method alone. Therefore, legislation is needed in under to safeguard the public and private interest. Legislation should cover:

  • Acts which are prohibited,
  • Special precautionary measures,
  • Legal duties of citizens,
  • Authority of forest officers,
  • Protection of officers,
  • Law enforcement and regulation.

Forest Management:

While some forest types almost immune from fire and some less susceptible than others it can not be suggested the development of fire resistant forests should be a goal forest management. Management plans must first take account of economic and silvicultural requirements and then fire prevention must be worked out adequately to meet theses needs. When man begins to exploit the forest, the fire hazard is generally increased and therefore, exploitation should be conducted according to proper management plants that provide appropriate measures to safeguard the forest from additional fire risks to which it is exposed. Such measures should include:

  • Appropriate methods of cutting,
  • Development of roads,
  • Planting of fire resistant species and avoiding pure strands,
  • Planned grazing of the forest.

Reduction of hazard:

Hazard  reduction,   involving   the   removal   or  reduction   of fire  fuels   is preventive measures apart from the indirect hazard reduction measures just describe there are several direct methods of removing fire fuels. They are;

  • Reduction or removal of standing dead trees,
  • Other fuels, such as brush wood,
  • Controlled burning debris etc.


This is the work done before fire occur to ensure that the forest force is ready to take fast, effective detection and suppression action on any and all type of forest fires. Necessary preparatory actions are;

Trained fire fighters:

A small improvement in the skill of an actual fire fighting force seems to achieve a great increase in suppression efficiency than improvements in the other factors of suppression. So, physically fit and trained men are required to execute the well prepared plans of the specialists and to use highly developed equipments.

Provision and Maintenance of Equipment:

Some form of equipments, whether it can be hand or mechanized tool, is required both for preparation against fires and for suppression fires. For convenience, equipment can be grouped according to various phases ofthe fire control job.

  • Fire danger for casting,
  • Detection,      
  • Communication,
  • Transportation;
  • Construction and maintenance of firebreaks etc.
  • Suppression,

The type of equipment needed vary from country to country and even from one locality to another and the factor affecting requirement should be carefully considered.

Finally when the types of equipment have been selected, every effort should be made to have them available in sufficient quantity that strategic locations and maintained in good order and condition.


This implies not only glimpsing a fire at an early stage but also locating its precise position and passing a warning and full information to whom ever must initiate the suppression action. If detection, fires that started may grown to large proportion by the time suppression press arriver, and under these circumstances, even in a normal fire season, the organization might prove incapable of handling the situation that would most probably developed. To be efficient, the detection of fire must be a planned operation, making use of all possible means of detection, whether it is ground patrols, observations from look out towers, air patrol or cooperation by the public in reporting fires.


Without adequate means of communication, fire control work is difficult and fire detection systems are value less. During the fire season, it is imperative that the numbers of fire control organization should be able to intercommunicate at all times. Communication can be made “through the forest service telephonic system which must be linked up with network, radio network, walkie talkie, and voice amplifiers in aircrafts.Speedy and effective communication regarding the start and progress of fire is one of the vital factors in reducing the time taking to bring them under control and in preventing their spread.


Transportation of men and material to protection area is of great importance. Transportation may be accomplished;

  • On foot, by men or animals
  • By water craft,
  • By motorized equipment,
  • By air.

For successful fire management of areas subject to fires, good access roads are also required for transportation. The greater the subdivision of the forest by road and tracks the greater is the chance of confining a fire to limit areas.

Water Supply:

For drinking and cocking purposes, water in limited quantities is alwaysrequired, but its value is mean of suppressing forest fires has been gradual extended until today its use in fire suppression is limited largely by its availability of water-delivery equipments.

It is considered that equipment for the delivery of water to fires will gradually become more readily detainable and that, therefore, no opportunity should be lost of increasing water storage facilities where necessary. This can be done through provision of field deems, iron storage tanks, wells and access of water holes and streams and in some areas by using sand-point equipment for detaining sub surface water quickly.

Firebreaks and Fire Line:

A firebreak is defined as a natural or already existing barrier artificially constructed before a fire occurs from which all or most of inflammable material have removed. The several types of breaks are;

Natural breaks:

All possible use should be made of existing natural breaks such as rivers, cracks, swamps and permanent cultivation.

Existing roads, trails and tracks:

Existing roads, trails and tracks can be used as breaks, however, all roads, trails and tracks should be kept clear of inflammable material and in particular drains and culvert should be kept free of leaves and other trash.

Cleared firebreaks:

Complete cleared breaks one to two chain in width and located in strategic sectors, are still often used. Such breaks can be maintained free of vegetation by plowing, brushing, and sometime by use of chemical.

Tree cover breaks:

For this purpose artificial green break of fire resistant species are raised as a border to danger areas such as railway tracks and roads through the forest.

Fire line:

A fire line is defined a narrow portion of control line from which inflammable materials have been removed by scraping or digging down to mineral soil.

Fire line, when supplementary to any type of breaks, need to be from 2-4 feet in width, used alone, they should be wider. The actual width will generally, be determined by the facilities available for construction and maintenance.


The final stage of fire protection operations is the suppression of fires as soon after there occurrence as possible. Efficiency in this work depends upon:

  • Early detection and prompt reporting of fires,
  • The availability of sufficient labor to coop with the work,
  • Facilities for rapid transport,

The methods of controlling fires are;

Application of Water:

This is the best method of extinguishing fire but not applicable where water is not available in sufficient quantity. Whenever, possible water may be used for putting out burning or glowing stumps and trees, after the fire has been brought under control in order to prevent their acting as fresh sources of fire.

Application of Earth:

When earth is applied to burning material it cuts offthe oxygen supply and also lowers the temperature below combustion point there by extinguishing the fire. Care should be taken to dig below the humus layer till mineral soil free from organic matter is reached and this soil should be applied.

Suppression of Fire with Chemical Extinguishants:

Suppressing forest fires with extenguishants is a complex physicochemical.
The stoppage of combustion in forest fires after the action of chemicalextenguishants on them is achieved due to;

  • Cooling of the combustion zone to the temperature at which combustion can not continue.
  • Isolation of the combustibles from atmospheric oxygen by a layer of gases which prevent combustion and also the formation on its surface of a hard or liquid film.
  • Formation with the combustible of stable chemical compounds obstructing the entry of atmospheric oxygen.
  • Interruption of combustion reaction in the flame phase and
  • Conversion of various substances in to coal obstructing the entry of

For effective suppression of fire at the edge, creation of fire-retardant belts and supporting line for starting a back fire, aqueous solutions of inorganic salts are used e.g. calcium and magnesium chloride, ammonium sulfate, and diammonium phosphate etc.

Beating Out:

Where neither water nor earth is readily available the method of beating out may be employed. The advancing edge of fire is struck glancing bellows with a suitable tool. The action should be side-ways and inward towards the burnt area as though one were trying to push the fire in vertical bellows are dangerous as they will have the effect of scattering burning sparks and will only help to spread the fire. Suitable glancing stroke have a threshold action. They set up a strong local breeze which puts out the new flames at the outer most edge. When delivered they cut off the oxygen supply temporarily. They blow or carry the burning material inwards where it can do no harm. Unskilled strokes may only serve to fan flames. The advantage of this method lies in the fact that suitable tools can be readily improvised in the forest. Brooms somewhat fan-shaped can be made out of leafy branches, fire rakes, fire swatter, shovels and other tools can be used. This method is most suitable for putting out grass firs, and other surface burning in the litter.

Back Firing:

The object of back firing is to burn a strip of forest under the strictest control in advance of the fire front and towards it, so that when the fire reaches the artificially burnt area, it must die out for want of inflammable material. Back firing is indirect method of fire fighting and is restored to when direct method aiming at the extinguishing the fire, such as throwing earth or beating out, have either failed or have clearly no chance of success. Back firing is done when fire is advancing at rapid rate fanned by a high wind and the flames are too hot for man to approach them. The proper location of the base from which to back fire is of great importance. The basic principle in back firing is simply to fight fire with fire and to cut your loss to the minimum.

Post-Fire Operation:

The burning under control of the fire is by no means the end of the fire fighting operations. There will bee vast quantities of burning stumps, trees, branches etc; in the burnt area if they are not able to start a new fire they must be watched over and efforts should be made to put them out. Water if available or earth should be used to put out the burning material. The work of the fighting is not over till the last vestige of a spark has died out of the burnt area.


It is useful to maintain an accurate record of all firs occurring in the forest. Every case of fire should be marked to scale on fire-map and numbered. The dates of fires should also be shown on the maps.


Forest fire can be defined as any fire on forest land which is not being used as a tool in forest management in accordance with an authorized plan. But naturally fire is the most powerful ecological factor which determines the characters of ecosystem. Generally, the ecological effects of fire are very unreliable.

The effects on vegetation can vary from beneficial to highly detrimental, while the major effects on animals will depend upon whether or not the species is favored by the changes in the environment wrought by the fire. Fire does have direct adverse affects on plants and animals, but these are often relatively short lived. In contrast, the indirect effects that result from fire-induced alternations in soil can be much more persistent. Soil structure, organic matter content, and nutrient status can all be adversely affected by hot, persistent fire, with consequent reduction in plant productivity. Much more important is to know about the good efforts of fires of different type on particular ecosystem so, that destructive wild fire can be prevented by any possible mean that is available and to utilize the beneficial affects of fire.


  1. Akhtar Khan, R.H. Forest fire control. Riaz Printers Mirpur. AJK.
  2. Artsybashev, E.S. 1983. Forest fires and their control. Oxonion press Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi.
  3. Davis, K.P. 1959. Forest fire: control and use. McGraw-Hill   book company, Inc. New York, Toronto, London.
  4. Kimmins, J.P. 1987. Forest ecology. Macmillan publishing company, New York.
  5. Puri, G.S. 1988. Forest ecology. 2nd edition, Oxford publishing company, New Delhi.
  6. Siddiqui, K.M. 1994. Forest fires and their effects, PJF, 44 (4) PF1, Peshawar.
  7. Werzer, M.G 1991. The Study of Vegetation, McGrath hill company, New York.

Naeem Javid Muhammad Hassani is working as Conservator of Forests in Balochistan Forest & Wildlife Department (BFWD). He is the CEO of Tech Urdu ( Forestrypedia (, All Pak Notifications (, Essayspedia, etc & their YouTube Channels). He is an Environmentalist, Blogger, YouTuber, Developer & Vlogger.

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