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Geos Outline 2 - GEOS 220 Preventing Southwest Forest Fires...

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GEOS 220 Preventing Southwest Forest Fires Forest fires are a rising problem within the Southwest and will continue to become more ferocious while spreading across an increasing amount of acres of land if nothing is done to help the fight to prevent the smoldering of the environment due to fires . Every year fires burn millions of acres of land while costing billions of dollars to fight (Summary 2002). Fires have always been a problem in the Southwest, but fires are becoming more severe while damaging more land than ever. Fires are worse today then they have been for over thirty years due to an increase in fuel load, and will continue to thrive if actions are not done to prevent them (Timber 1996). This fuel load causes the forest to burn quicker while covering more acres at a time. The forests have become explosion-zones due to suppression, grazing, and lack of controlled government burning (Talking 1996). The government recognizes such fires as a problem, but seems to only act upon the issue while the fire is currently burning. Federal agencies spend millions of dollars to fight burning fires, but fail to do enough to prevent such fires from occurring (Erickson 1995). Forest fires have increased in frequency and intensity during the past years due to the unhealthy conditions of the Southwest forests brought upon by human impacts . Forest fires devastate more acres of land than they did in the past, and seem to persist to hit record highs continually as years pass (Fig 1). Forest fires use to occur naturally, but since humans have eliminated these natural fires, the land is unable to renew itself resulting in more fuel load. Fires used to burn every three to seven years which thinned out trees while creating a grassy environment and leaving thick trees barely harmed (Aleshire 1995). Instead of helping the forest, Good 1
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controlling these fires have left the forests in worse conditions than they naturally would have been in. Since humans have eliminated natural light-burning fire cycles, forests are growing too
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