Forest fires free up carbon that was stored in trees and make it available to other plant life. Many seeds survive forest fires as part of the soil, “seed bank”. This seed bank springs to life with the added sunlight and carbon. These plants are often annuals, they are followed in succession by perennials like fireweed, then shrubs, and then trees again. Some wildfires are so destructive that they remove the whole first layer of organic matter. These areas do not recover easily and are highly prone to erosion from wind and precipitation.
Small, controlled forest fires clear the build-up of vegetation that can starve other plants and keep them from growing. Clearing this build-up also prevents larger, uncontrollable fires that can do damage to the forest and spread to other areas.
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