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Wildland Fires

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Wildland fires have played an important role in North American history. Theyhave helped shape our public and private lands. Wildfires have causedthousands of deaths, destroyed millions of acres of timber and evenseveral towns in their path. However, wildland fire is not solely adestructive force. It is necessary for the growth of some plantspecies, and is part of an ecological cycle. Historically humans havestarted fires to clear the land, suppressed wildfires, allowed fires toburn naturally, and used fire to reduce fuel loads. Records of fire scars in fossilized trees and other vegetation indicate that fires influenced ecosystems on Earth at least 350 million years ago. How fire came to be controlled and used on a daily basis by humans is

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