A winter with little snow has been followed by a summer of drought. Tall, white storm clouds tower above the mountain peaks throughout the long, hot afternoon. A few raindrops splatter onto the pine needles which cover the forest floor. Then, strong winds rush through the forest, rocking the treetops back and forth. The scene has been set for a destructive force of nature: a forest fire.
Jagged, bright strokes of lightning flash from the clouds, striking the trees, again and again and again. Thunder echoes off the rocky bands of cliffs. With a loud bang, a stroke of lightning hits the top of a tall, dead tree, and rips it into flaming bits that shower the forest floor below.
One glowing ember slowly grows into a finger of flame as it feeds on the twigs, pine cones, and needles beneath the shattered tree. The day warms, the wind swells, and the fire grows, bigger, Bigger, and BIGGER.
Wildfires are growing in frequency, and intensity across the country as the climate changes. In the Young Explorer's Guide to Wildfires ($2.99) by Patrick Cone, you will come to understand how these fires start, and the changes they bring to the landscape.