There is a major crisis that the whole world is facing: wildfires. Wildfires are becoming more destructive each year. Especially in summer, wildfires can be uncontrollable. Wildfires don’t just destroy our beautiful ecosystem, but they also damage lives of humans and economies. There are lots of establishments that are trying to address this problem and explain how wildfires should be confronted and how the new reality of fires plays into the global future.
First of all, what are wildfires? They are uncontrolled fires that spread quickly and can destroy homes and the environment nearby. But, how do these destructive fires start at all? Lightning, heat from the Sun, or often a human error. In fact, most wildfires in the US are sparked by human activity. If a spark happens in the presence of oxygen and fuel—such as dry grass, brush or trees—a fire can start. Also conditions in the weather and environment can cause the fire to spread quickly. For example, drought, winds and extreme heat can make a fire bigger, faster and more dangerous.
There are various reasons for the increase in wildfires, but climate change has a major role in this situation. Climate change is affecting global wildfires, such as by increasing the fire season and size of areas affected by fire. Climate change will likely increase the risk of drought in some areas and the risk of extreme precipitation and flooding in others. Increased temperatures alter the timing of snowmelt, affecting the seasonal availability of water. Although many trees are resilient to some degree of drought, increases in temperature could make future droughts more damaging than those experienced in the past. In addition, drought increases wildfire risk, since dry trees and shrubs provide fuel to fires. Wildfires, caused by climate change, disturb the natural environment, reduce forest productivity and even cause the extinction of different species. Australia is deeply affected by wildfires, bushfires, every year, and with climate change their situation gets even worse. During 2019-2020 almost 19 million hectares burned, destroying over 3,000 homes and killing 33 people. Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, a climate scientist at the Climate Change Research Center at Sydney’s University of New South Wales says, “Climate change is the picture of the fire landscape now. We’ve been saying that for a couple of decades, and we knew that around about now we’d start to see the impact of climate change on bushfires. In terms of long-term strategies, we’ve got to just do more than adapt. We need to mitigate. That is the bottom line”.
Australia is not the only place that is affected by the wildfires. California is also damaged by these destructive fires. According to the California Department of Forest and Fire Protection, as of May 2021, a total of 2,060 fires were recorded, including 297 that burned 4.74 km2 on nonfederal land. Also the 2021 season has been estimated to be worse than last year because of the lack of rain and snow.
As explained earlier in the article, global warming may cause wildfires. But what if it is not the case? What if the fire started from a human error? Most fires are actually results from human actions. It can be a forgotten bonfire, a glass during a sunny day, or a candle light. Our forgetfulness and indifference to the natural beauties cause these destructions. We have to be careful in order to prevent them, especially on these hot days. We should control the places we used and check for any type of items that could cause a fire. Just one look can change a lot.
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“How Do Wildfires Spread?” NOAA SciJinks – All About Weather, scijinks.gov/wildfires. Accessed 29 June 2021.
Wikipedia contributors. “2021 California Wildfires.” Wikipedia, 29 June 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_California_wildfires.