Wildfires Reading Answers And Question

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  • IELTS Reading Matching Headings
  • IELTS Reading Short Answer Questions
  • IELTS Reading Sentence Completion

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IELTS Reading Passage – Wildfires


Human negligence is often the cause of wildfires. Approximately 90% of wildfires are ignited by humans, and the remaining 10% are caused by lightning. Some of the most frequent and common reasons for these fires are arson, camping fires, lit cigarettes, fireworks, playing with matchsticks, and burning garbage. Once a wildfire has been ignited, it can spread at a speed of 23 kph, and as it spreads across the landscape, it could kill one of its own or do anything that can help keep itself going, as far as starting fires miles away by chucking cinders.A fire needs three elements to ignite: fuel, oxygen, and heat. These three components create the fire triangle, and they are often spoken about by firefighters while attempting to put out the fire. According to the concept, if one of the three elements is removed, the firefighters would have control over the fire and thus, finally, extinguish the fire.

The fuel in the area surrounding the fires determines the speed at which they spread. Anything that is alive or dead and has the ability to burn is fuel. There are different types of fuel, which include everything — that is, houses, trees, grasslands, and underbrush. The amount of inflammable matter surrounding the fire is referred to as “the fuel load” and is based on the amount of fuel that is readily available per unit area, often tonnes per acre. The amount of dryness in the fuel will also influence how the fire behaves. When the fuel is extremely dry, it burns considerably faster and starts fires that are significantly more difficult to extinguish. Size, shape, arrangement, and moisture are the primary fuel features that affect a fire. However, since wildfire fuel generally consists of the same material, the ratio of the fuel’s total surface area to its volume has a large influence on the igniting time. A twig burns quickly because its surface area is not considerably larger than its volume. However, a tree requires longer to heat up before burning since its surface area is much smaller than its volume.

Temperature, wind, and moisture are three aspects of the weather that influence wildfires. Since heat is one of the three components of the fire triangle, the temperature has a direct impact on how wildfires start. The sun heats and dries the ground’s underbrush, trees, and sticks, which are all probable fuel sources. Hot temperatures accelerate the spread of a wildfire by allowing fuels to spark and burn very quickly. Therefore, wildfires tend to flare up in the afternoon, when temperatures are the highest.The wind is probably the most unexpected component and has the biggest impact on wildfires. Winds help wildfires grow rapidly and provide access to more dry fuel and extra oxygen. In addition, fires generate winds of their own, which can be at least ten times stronger than the ambient wind. Winds can also scatter embers capable of igniting more fires; this phenomenon is known as “spotting”. Winds may also alter the course of a fire, and gusts can drive flames into trees, causing a “crown fire.” Humidity and rain provide moisture that can slow down and lower the intensity of fires because high moisture levels make it difficult for materials to burn. Higher humidity levels lead to fewer wildfires.

The topography can also have a major impact on wildfire behavior. Since topography rarely fluctuates over time, unlike fuel and weather, it will either help or hinder the growth of a wildfire. The slope is the primary topographical feature that affects wildfires. Fires usually spread faster uphill than downhill, and the steeper the slope, the faster it spread. This is because fires travel in the same direction as the wind, which mostly blows upward. Furthermore, the fire can warm fuel more quickly when smoke and heat travel in that direction. In comparison, the fire has to work incredibly hard to go down a hill after reaching its peak.

Countless firefighters risk their lives while doing their jobs every year. There are two types of elite firefighters: hotshots and smokejumpers. The main duty of hotshots, who operate in 20-man groups, is to build firebreaks around fires. A land strip without any potential fuel is termed a firebreak. Smokejumpers, as their name indicates, jump from planes to smaller fires burning in inaccessible locations. They try to put out these minor fires before they escalate into big ones. In addition to creating firebreaks and spraying water and fire extinguishers on wildfires, firefighters also utilize “backfires.” Firefighters initiate backfires, which burn in the direction of the central fire, consuming all potential fuel in their path. Firefighters on the ground also get a significant amount of support from the air. Tankers drop hundreds of gallons of water and extinguishers on the fire. Fire retardant, which is dumped from planes and helicopters, is a red chemical consisting of phosphate fertilizers that slow and cools the fire.

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Wildfires IELTS Reading Questions

Questions 1 – 4

Reading Passage has five paragraphs A – E. From the list of headings below choose the most suitable heading for paragraphs B – E. Write the appropriate numbers (i – viii) in boxes 1 – 4 on your answer sheet. NB There are more headings than paragraphs, so you will not use them all.

Paragraph Av
  1. Paragraph B
  2. Paragraph C
  3. Paragraph D
  4. Paragraph E

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Questions 5 – 9

Using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from Reading Passage, answer the following questions. Write your answers in boxes 5 – 9 on your answer sheet.

5. When do the wildfires burn most fiercely?
6. What is the method called in which the firefighters use an additional fire to control wildfires?
7. What is calculated in tons per acre?
8. Complete the diagram of the fire triangle given below.

  1. ______
  2. heat source
  3. fuel

9. What can be carried by the wind to ignite fires at a location away from the initial fire?

Questions 10 – 13

Complete each of the following statements (Questions 10 – 13) with words taken from the Reading Passage. Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 10 – 13 on your answer sheet.

10. _________ is the weather component that has a big impact on how wildfires behave.
11. Wildfires usually travel ________ far too quickly, since it is the path that wind generally follows.
12. The surface to volume _________ is the most important factor in determining how rapidly a wildfire begins.
13. _______ refers to fires that are on the top of trees.

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Unlock your full potential in the IELTS Reading section – Visit our IELTS Reading Practice Question Answer page now!

Recommended Questions:

Renewable Energy IELTS Reading Question with Answer

Wildfires Reading Answers

1. ii
2. iv
3. viii 
4. i
5. in the afternoon
6. backfires
7. the fuel load
8. air/oxygen
9. embers
10. The wind
11. uphill
12. ratio(of fuel)
13. Crown fire


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