Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade December 2001

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Wildfires People are able to adapt to almost any environment, but sometimes we take advantage of our natural surroundings. We find ourselves with a struggle between our lives and nature. Even though we affect nature with our activities, nature's forces shape us. The environment can be brutal to humans, but we remember that it is following its course. As a result, we must learn to live with it. Fire is a naturally occurring phenomenon which humans have learned to deal with throughout history. Yet when fire burns uncontrollably, there is potential for excessive damage to everything surrounding it. Wildfires are an example of one such instance.

Historically, wildfires have been left to burn uncontrolled for weeks at a time. They were caused by different things such as lightning or hunters who wanted to chase animals out of the woods. These fires had catastrophic effects on humans and the environment through history.

Homes built among wild brush are perfect prey to wildfires.

A wildfire can destroy hundreds of homes in a matter of weeks. These fires have profoundly affected the environment. They have done damage to the vegetation as well as the inhabitants. Traveling through wildfire areas, it is almost impossible to imagine that the beautiful environment could foster such a deadly fire.

A forest fire is a terrifying sight. Flames and sparks leap from tree to tree igniting almost anything that they touch. Animals flee and plants are destroyed. Such fires wreak havoc. They are a natural phenomenon that natural communities have adapted to over periods of time. When a forest fire starts, the temperatures can rise to more than 1800 degrees F.

The speed at which the fire travels depends upon how wet the vegetation is and how hard the wind is blowing. On hills the fire...