What is a wildfire?

A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire spreading rapidly through vegetation, usually in a hot and dry area. Wildfires often begin unnoticed. A wildfire can go by a variety of names, depending on the area in which the fire occurs or the kind of vegetation the fire destroys. Such names are brush fire, forest fire, desert fire, hill fire, vegetation fire, peat (partially decayed vegetation) fire, and grass fire. Any wildfire is called a surface fire if it is spreading on the ground or a crown fire if it is spreading from treetop to treetop.

Contributing sources: FEMA, U.S. Forest Service

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