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Wildfires, Animals & the Environment

Southern California is suffering from a heatwave that is causing and exasperating wildfires in the area. Fire, however, aren’t as damaging to nature as they can be for us:

On average, more than 100,000 wildfires, also called wildland fires or forest fires, clear 4 million to 5 million acres (1.6 million to 2 million hectares) of land in the U.S. every year… Although often harmful and destructive to humans, naturally occurring wildfires play an integral role in nature. They return nutrients to the soil by burning dead or decaying matter. They also act as a disinfectant, removing disease-ridden plants and harmful insects from a forest ecosystem. And by burning through thick canopies and brushy undergrowth, wildfires allow sunlight to reach the forest floor, enabling a new generation of seedlings to grow.

Read more at National Geographic.

(Photograph from Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images via the Guardian.)