Difference Between Wildfire and Flood

Natural calamities are caused due to extreme climate or weather changes. Human activities may indirectly cause some of these calamities.


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All these calamities have detrimental effects on humans and other living organisms. Some natural disasters leave a significant impact that takes a few years to heal.

Tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, volcanic eruptions, droughts, wildfires, and earthquakes are some natural calamities.

Key Takeaways

  1. Wildfires are uncontrolled fires that consume forests and other vegetation, whereas floods occur when excess water overflows onto typically dry land.
  2. Wildfires can result from natural causes like lightning or human activities, while floods are caused by heavy rainfall, snowmelt, or dam failures.
  3. Both wildfires and floods can have devastating environmental and socio-economic impacts, including loss of life, property damage, and long-term ecological consequences.

Wildfire vs Flood

The difference between Wildfire and Flood is that wildfire may be caused by human activities or natural causes like lightning. At the same time, extreme downpour causes flood.

Both wildfires and floods affect humans drastically. Wildfire is most common in forests, while flood affects cities and towns.

Flood is widespread in highly populated areas like big cities.

Wildfire vs Flood

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Wildfire is common in grasslands and forests. They are caused during the hot summer months.

There are many causes for wildfires. They can spread in a short time and cause more significant destruction.

Fossil evidence indicates the presence of wildlife ever since prehistoric periods. It is believed that these wildfires have been the reason for the evolution of many organisms.

A flood is the entry of water into cities and people’s living places. Floods are caused in countries with heavy rainfall, like India, China, etc. It occurs during the monsoon season.

The water entering streets and houses causes a great nuisance to people. Flood destroys houses and roads.

Flood is made worse by human activities.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonWildfireFlood
Element FireWater
CauseLightning, setting fields on fire, dry and hot climateHeavy rainfall, stagnation of water
EffectDamage to forest and wildlifeDestruction of buildings and interruption of transportation
Human health issuesRespiratory diseasesInfectious waterborne diseases
CountriesIt is common in Australia, North America, Canada, Siberia, etcIndia, China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Nepal, Thailand, etc

What is Wildfire?

Natural or artificial causes cause a wildfire. They are common in countries with hot and dry summers, like Australia and North America.

Wildfires have proven to be helpful in evolution in the past.

But, they also have a more significant ill effect on natural vegetation and animals. They are caused naturally by lightning, global warming, volcanic eruption, and summers.

Lightning striking trees during summer makes them burn, spreading the fire to the neighbouring trees. The friction of two tree branches can also cause wildfires.

When the branches come in contact, friction, and sparks develop, and thus wildfire spreads. Volcanic lava can set grasslands on fire.

Human activities like the farmers burning their fields to clear them, electric lines generating sparks, etc., are also the causes. Wildfires spread rapidly, especially during dry weather.

They destroy all the vegetation and animals living there. But, plants in some areas that are prone to wildfires survive.

Trees like eucalyptus are good survivors of wildfires.

People are also affected by wildfires. When a wildfire crisis arises, people from the neighbouring areas are asked to evacuate and move to safe places.

Wildfires lead to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions and cause air pollution. People also develop respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms.

Silver iodide-induced snowing is employed in some countries to suppress wildfire spread.

What is Flood?

A flood is an excessive water submerging an area. It usually occurs due to the overflowing of lakes, rivers, dams, etc.

This overflowing occurs commonly due to heavy rain. Here water gets accumulates on roads and disrupts the normal functioning of people.

The intensity of damage a flood can cause depends on the human activities in that area.

Deforestation, converting wetlands into cities, and constructing buildings on water reservoirs are some causes.

When the reservoirs like lakes are converted into buildings, the excess water from rain has nowhere to go.

So, it floods the streets. As rainfall increases, the water level rises, and water enters houses. People move to safe areas.

Flood brings more water to rivers, and the buildings on river banks collapse. So, people move away from these dangerous areas.

Flood affects transportation and interrupts electricity. People run out of essentials, and food is provided to them by the rescue team with the help of helicopters.

Various rescue teams, including NGOs, function during flood times.

The outbreak of infectious diseases is also typical during floods. Waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera, hepatitis, jaundice and dengue are some disorders commonly spread during floods.

Mosquitoes breed and increase in number during floods. Floods damage the roads and destroy buildings.

These damages take time and a lot of money to reconstruct.

Main Differences Between Wildfire and Flood

  1. Wildfire occurs as a result of fire spreading alarmingly in forests and grasslands. While flood is the result of the accumulation of water
  2. Wildfire is common in summer. The dry weather of summer supports the spread of wildfire. Flood occurs in monsoons as the result of heavy rain.
  3. Wildfire destroys forests and wild animals, whereas a flood destroys buildings, affect transportation and interrupt normal life
  4. Wildfire increases carbon dioxide emission and air pollution, but flood leads to spreading diseases and destroying buildings and infrastructures.
  5. Fire retarders are used to put off a wildfire. People are rescued and given food and shelter until situations return to normal during floods.
Difference Between Wildfire and Flood
  1. https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/2015WR018176
  2. https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/09653560610669936/full/html?journalCode=dpm
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