Were wildfires as prevalent in the US (maybe other places) before there were a lot of people living in forests and grasslands?
With the recent rash of wildfires in the western US (both forest and prairie) I got to thinking. Fire is a natural purge, both in the forest and also in prairies and other grasslands. I also know that over the last 100 years or so, at least in the US, efforts to prevent forest fires, and wildfires in general, have left the forests with thick undergrowth, which is good tinder for fire. I have seen records of prairie fires in Illinois in the 1800’s, where people would drive their horse and buggy out and have a picnic across the river by the light of the fire. No effort was made to put it out.
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