A wildfire is an unplanned, unwanted fire burning in a natural area, such as a forest, grassland, or prairie. As building development expands into these areas, homes and businesses may be situated in or near areas susceptible to wildfires. Wildfires can destroy homes and businesses, and threaten the safety of employers and their workers.

Wildfires can occur anywhere in the country and at any time of the year, but the potential is always higher during periods with little or no rainfall, which make brush, grass, and trees dry, allowing them to burn more easily. High winds can also contribute to spreading wildfires, which can move at extremely high rates of speed, with flames as high as 200 feet or higher.

Wildfires can start in remote wilderness areas, in national parks, or in backyards. They can start from natural causes, such as lightning, but most are caused by humans, either accidentally—from cigarettes, campfires, or outdoor burning—or intentionally. A community may have a designated wildfire season when the risk is particularly high.

Learning about wildfire risks and planning in advance can help protect against the destructive impacts of wildfires.

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