Hazard a Guess? The riskiest science quiz you will ever take!

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True or false? People are the leading cause of wildfires in the United States.

  1. True
  2. False

To see the answer, scroll down below the image.

A wildfire in a forest
Fire is a natural part of the boreal forest, which is an ecosystem dominated by black and white spruce. Photograph credit: S.T. Rupp, Alaska Climate Science Center

 

The correct answer is true. As many as 90 percent of wildland fires in the United States are caused by humans, primarily through campfires left unattended, burning of debris, negligently discarded cigarettes and intentional acts of arson. The next most common source of wildfires is lightning. Keep in mind that there are many natural factors, such as vegetation and extreme heat or drought, which can combine with human factors to increase fire activity and risk. The USGS provides tools and information before, during and after fire disasters to identify wildfire risks and reduce subsequent hazards, while providing real-time geospatial support for firefighters during the events.

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"Hazard a Guess?" is an ongoing series, so check out past questions and come back soon for more. Don't forget to share these with friends and family to help raise awareness of natural hazards.