NUTSHELL:Â In this lesson, students work in teams and use primary data sources, such as weather data and an emergency radio traffic log, to investigate the Cottonville Fire.Â Using primary documents such as newspaper articles, students study how the fire was suppressed and evaluate successes and limitations to fighting the fire.Â To conclude, teams are given post-fire landowner dilemmas to discuss.Â Â
In Wisconsin, there are two main types of wildland fire â€“ wildfire and prescribed fire. Wildfires start without the intent of the landowner or land manager and are uncontrolled and unwanted. Prescribed fires are contained and are planned to meet the goals of a landowner or land manager.The ignition of wildland fire can be caused by human activity (e.g., debris burning and other outdoor burning, machine sparks, children playing with matches, power lines, fireworks) or natural sources (e.g., lightning, spontaneous combustion). Human activity is responsible for most wildland fires in Wisconsin.Fire requires oxygen, heat, and fuel to exist. Collectively these elements are known as the fire triangle. Under most conditions, the three elements can be manipulated to slow or stop the spread of fire.Fire behavior is influenced by topography, weather, and fuel characteristics. The fire season is determined by seasonal changes in weather and fuel.Wildland fire management has direct and indirect costs and benefits for the economy. Effective wildland fire management requires both financial and human resources.The wildland/urban interface is an area where human structures exist among wildland fuels. As people move into fire prone areas, the potential for ignition of wildland fire increases, and buildings and other human-made objects become a possible fuel source.
OBJECTIVES Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:
Explore the ecologic, economic, and social affects of wildfire.Examine multiple data sources to make predictions and draw conclusions about a natural phenomenon.Discuss how wildfire behaves and the factors that influence this behavior.Analyze wildfire suppression efforts and evaluate challenges in each.
SUBJECT AREAS Geography, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies
Total Lesson Time: 235 minutesTime Breakdown: Introduction--5 minutes; Activity 1--60 minutes; Activity 2--90 minutes; Activity 3 --40 minutes; Conclusion--40 minutes