You can't cover up a nuclear incident with a forest fire. Few of these fires are naturally occurring. The problem is that we are too careful. Every fall all the non-evergreen leaves fall to the ground and pile up. Every winter branches, stems and even whole trees fall to the ground. Year after year this detritus piles up. Throw in a year with a mild/dry winter. Add to that a dry, early spring and and a hot dry summer and you have a recipe for disaster. In times past this detritus would be ignited through lightning strikes. Many native tribes would even purposely set the fires in order to keep underbrush down and to get rid of the detritus. The development of these areas led to the detritus building up year after year because no one was burning it off and if it did happen to catch we would be quick to put it out. This same thing is happening all over the country. We could avoid raging forest fires if we would return to yearly burn-offs.
I am speaking of the life of a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children; who has undertaken to cherish it and do it no damage, not because he is duty-bound, but because he loves the world and loves his children… - Wendell Berry, 1971