In the recent years we have seen a number of uncontrolled forest fries flare up in different parts of the world. Some of these fires lasted for months. So the question arises if we can expect a further increase in wildfires.
2015 – Unusually large flames destroyed fields in Alaska and Indonesia.
2016 – Uncontrolled wildfires in Canada, California and Spain.
2017 – Large regions of Chile and Portugal were effected by wildfires.
2018 – Deadliest and most destructive for the forests in California.
2019 – The fires and California continued, followed by fires in Amazon and Australia.
2020 – Hundreds of bushfires ripped through Australia in January and right now, deadly blaze in Poland is devastating hectares.
Human activities, mainly campfires and discarding lit cigarettes are mostly behind the start of fires, harsh weather makes forests drier and vulnerable to burning. Answering why fires start and take hold is not facile. But geologists are now pointing at the connection between hotter ocean temperatures due to global climate change and increasing risk of wildfires.
Pollution and the emissions of greenhouse gases bring about an increase in temperatures. These rising temperatures cause the leaves to dry up making the land more flammable. It also means that the snow melts one month earlier which leads to forests being dry for a much longer period.
Upcoming years will bring a further increase in temperature owing to the emission of greenhouse gases. The amount of gases is expected to skyrocket in the following years. This will result in more wildfires and for a longer period of time.
The burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas for electricity, heat, and transportation is the primary source of human-generated emissions. A second major source is deforestation, which releases sequestered carbon into the air.
Susanne Winter, the forest program manager at WWF Germany, said “The number of fires and sizes varies from year to year, but the trend is that the risk of fire is increasing globally.”
Humans have the power to stop this cycle or at least slow it down by following a sustainable life approach. We take to stop these fires from growing by making a few changes in our lives.