Forest Fires

Some fires were more than 100 meters high

Next week we will start a new unit about forest fires. One of the worst was in February 2009 when 400 fires broke out in the forests surrounding Melbourne, Australia. Five towns were destroyed, 2000 houses burned down and 173 people died with more than 400 people injured. The fires left more than 7500 homeless. This fire started a debate about whether people should build houses in or near forests.

The fires moved at 140km an hour. Even people in cars could not escape.

Please answer ONE of the questions in the comments.

1. Are there ever forest fires in your country? Have you heard of a disaster like this?

2. If you have been to Australia, did you go to a place that was in danger of fires?

3. Do you think people should not build their houses in or near forests? Why?



About mattsclass

Teacher of English as a foreign language in Tokyo

22 responses to “Forest Fires

  1. Toko M4


    I have been to Cairns before but it is a tourist city.
    So there weren’t any forests but rather malls, stores and hotels around the place I stayed.
    I also went to Kuranda but I don’t think forest fires happen there because the forests there are rain forests.
    But I’m not sure.

    Toko M4

  2. SunsetAcademy



    I don’t know about Japan but I know California is known for it’s constant battle with wildfire.
    The dry warm weather in California mixed with their vast forests creates deadly forest fire.
    It has made numerous fatal damages as burning debris, carried by wind, can ignite objects (other trees, houses and such) miles away from the actual burning point.
    They have a department for forestry and fire prevention and the department announces fire season when the possibility of wildfire gets higher than usual, the reason most likely being the change of weather patterns and the increase of other fire-triggering factors.

    M4 Jay

  3. Mayuko Th5

    Q3 Do you think people should not build their houses in or near forests? Why?

    I think that there are advantages and disadvantages. For example, the advantages are that you could feel nature really close to you and feel comfortable. The disadvantages are things like forest fires and you’ll have to drive a long way to the nearest supermarket. Also in forests you will have to deal with a lot of mosquitoes in the summer. Since I can think of more disadvantages than the advantages, I prefer not living near forests.

  4. Shiori M5



    I haven’t heard of a disaster like the one in the picture.
    But I’ve heard that there was a forest fire in Hyogo prefecture on April 4th, 2011.
    The fire was finally put out on the morning of April 6th.
    Houses near the forest were safe and nobody was injured.

    Shiori M5

  5. Tomomi M5


    Q2 2. If you have been to Australia, did you go to a place that was in danger of fires?

    I’ ve been to Australia once for sightseeing. I visited Sydney, Caerns, and Ururu.
    Sydney and Cairns are close to the sea and don’t have many trees, so I think there’re few danger of forestfire.
    However, because inland areas around Ururu were really dry, I heared forestfire sometimes occure in those areas. But I saw only a few low trees there so I think forestfire in Australia occure in middle areas which is not too close to or far from the sea. But I didn’t go to such place last time.

  6. Konomi M5

    Hey Matt 😉

    I agree that there is a possibility of being a victim of forest fire if you live near the forest.
    Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean we should live far away from it.
    Big cities has lots of dangers as well but people don’t think of living far away from the city because there are benefits.
    I think it can also be said to the forest. I mean if people find benefits in living near the forest, then they shouldn’t just go away but live there.

    See you on Monday.

  7. Kano M5


    I’ve never heard about a forest fire in Japan. Maybe there are such things, only that I don’t really pay attentions to those kind of news.I think that is because I don’t live near a forest and don’t have to worry about forest fires.

    The news that I look that contains forest fires are mostly in foreign counries. Maybe fire forests depend on the temperature,weather of each country.

    M5 Kano

  8. Olga

    1. Are there ever forest fires in your country? Have you heard of a disaster like this?

    Unfortunately in Russia’case it happens every summer. The reasons are diffrent, sometimes it’s rainless weather, sometimes people’s careless actions. As a result some people lose their home or even die every year. Last year it was especially intense, some countryside was almost destroied by fire and Moskow was covered with smoke.

    Olga M4

  9. Maho M4


    In Japan, we do hear of forest fires but I’ve never heard of disasters like those in Australia.
    Although a large part of Japan’s land is covered with forests, most of us are not aware of the dangers of forest fires.

  10. nanako M5

    Hi Matt!
    Good evening and

    I’ve heard of a forest fire which occured in California. There was a fire in a National Park. And the TV said that the people there don’t try to put out the fire! They think that the park should be in a natural condition. Forest fires are caused naturally, not by man. So, they let it alone. Putting forest fire out means that they are destroying the natural forest! I thougt this idea was crazy!! but cool.

    See you tomorrow!

  11. Shihiko M5

    Hello, Matt!


    I heard that forests fire happened in Hyogo prefecture this January, but it wasn’t large as the one in Australia. Nobody was injured.

    Forests fire happens naturally, but it can also made by man. Sometimes it happens because children play with fire, and someone carelessly litters cigarettes! I think people have to be more careful!

    Shihoko M5

  12. Momo


    I have heard of forest fires in Japan.
    But they are not so big as this picture.
    I think humid climate in Japan keep fires small.

  13. Shun M5

    Hi Matt.
    I don’t think people should not build there house near or in forests in Japan.
    It’s humid in Japan so I guess forest fires won’t be that big.
    Also wherever you live in Japan there may be earthquakes,tsunami and typhoon so living away from forest doesn’t mean that you’re safe.

    See you later.

  14. Taro


    I’ve heard that there were constant forest fires in Japan around 1970s to 1980s.
    But I haven’t heard of a disaster like that in Japan.

  15. wakenken

    Q1 Yes,there was.
    Sometimes I news about forest fires on TV.

  16. wakenkenM5

    Yes,there was.
    Sometimes I news about forest fires on TV.

  17. Takuya M5


    When I lived in Japan I did not have any problems of having any forest fire nearby.
    Although When I was living in California I experienced a big forest fire at the nearby city. It wasn’t dangerous in my city so I did not have to run away, but there where ashes falling all over my city so I was kind of scary.

  18. Kanako Th5



    Actually, there is a forest near my house. Of course, people can enjoy natural view or walking. But it is dangerous when there occurs a crime. For example, some houses in forests can’t be seen from outside so that they may become a “target” of a robber.

  19. Yuki Th5


    I think people shouldn’t build there houses in or near forests.If people do that,they are going to kill many animals or going to destroy
    many important habitats of animals.

  20. Kyoko Th5


    I think it is OK for people to live near forests, because if there is no people around then they can keep an eye on forest. Bad people might hunt animals freely, cut trees without pemissions, and if there is a forest fire no one could tell that the forest is on fire.

  21. Marie Th5

    Hi Matt!

    There aren’t any forest fires in Tokyo but I think there are some in some parts of Japan because I sometimes see a warning sign of forest fires. But I guess they are not as bid\g as forest fires in Austraria.

    I’ll see you soon!

  22. Ai Th5


    I think it’s good to continue building houses in/around forests. Many have suffered from forest fires, but other places are dangerous as well. For example, last March, there was an earthquake in Japan, and many people living in coastal area died because of tsunami. Even people living in big cities are in danger, because they have no place to escape when natural disasters hit them. So, compared with these places, forest fire is not a big problem. When we build our houses, we have to take some risk. I don’t understand why people focus too much on danger of forest fires.

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