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How Does a Forest Fire Benefit Living Things?

By: Laurie L. Dove

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Author's Note: How does a forest fire benefit living things?

Without fire, early humans would have been chilly vegetarians (it would have been difficult to subsist on dinosaur carpaccio during the long, cold winters, after all). Although we've come to rely on fire for survival and comfort, fire also can sweep through heavily wooded areas and threaten lives or livelihood. Still, there are benefits. These fires eat their way through underbrush and never reach the tops of the tallest trees. After the fire dies out, it leaves the forest clear of underbrush that chokes out new growth, making it ready for a new generation of native plants.

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