A wildfire, forest fire, bushfire, wildland fire or rural fire is an unplanned, uncontrolled and unpredictable fire in an area of combustible vegetation. Depending on the type of vegetation present, a wildfire may be more specifically identified as a bushfire, desert fire, grass fire, hill fire, peat fire, prairie fire, vegetation fire, or veld fire. Some natural forest ecosystems depend on wildfire. Wildfires are distinct from beneficial human usage of wildland fire, called controlled burning, although controlled burns can turn into wildfires. Fossil charcoal indicates that wildfires began soon after the appearance of terrestrial plants approximately 419 million years ago during the Silurian period. Earth's carbon-rich vegetation, seasonally dry climates, atmospheric oxygen, and widespread lightning and volcanic ignitions create favorable conditions for fires.

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