The vast majority of forest fires are still caused by lightning. More important, forest fires are good and necessary for healthy sylvan communities. In fact, there are many species of trees–like my beloved Ponderosa pine–whose seeds *ONLY* germinate from fire. They are literally like the Phoenix, rising from their own ashes. Only when we accept forest fires as both inevitable and necessary can we begin to repair–or rather simply let nature herself repair–the incredible damage that has been done to forests across the country and indeed the world through fire suppression. Suppressing forest fires allows “fuel” to build up on the forest floor, so when those inevitable lightning fires come, they are much more destructive–they get up into the canopies of trees and destroy them, whereas normal, regular, natural, smaller fires would clear out the fuel load (aka foliage, branches, cones, etc.) and the trees would be able to survive with their evolved natural defense mechanisms. This is why you now see smaller prescribed burns of forest-fuel loads; management is finally catching up with the ecology of forest ecosystems. Truly, it is only with overpopulation and hence too many humans encroaching on forest habitat that we really run into a problem.
To quote activist and longtime forest defender Tim Ream from the SEMINAL documentary pickAxe (my favorite movie, one that literally changed my life, which you can view for free HERE), “Fires don’t kill forests. LOGGING kills forests.”