What’s happening in the world is distressing. Every day news channels are telling us about the ecological disasters taking place around the world. Our only planet Earth is burning. The temperature of the Earth’s surface has been increasing, glaciers are melting, the sea level is rising, environmental issues are becoming prevalent, and instead of finding and adopting ways to mitigate climate change, many of us just want to leave Earth and shift to Mars [which in reality is not possible as we all know, the only livable planet we know of is our Earth but we seem to be hell bent on trying to make it unlivable too!].
Wildfires, bush fires, or forest fires are similar terms.
Wildfires are unpleasant, undesired, and uncontrolled events that happen in urban and rural areas surrounded by forests.
Below some wildfires, incidents in the world have been mentioned.
Australia is a known country for wildfire incidents. The wildfire started in 2019 and lasted for March 2020. The death toll was up to 34 while nearly 3500 homes were damaged and many buildings were completely collapsed.
Wildfires in Amazon have burned 13,000sq km in the first seven months of 2020. The wildfire incidents in the Amazon rainforest have caused extensive damage to land areas. More than 2 million animals have been killed.
US CALIFORNIA 2021
California State of United States has experienced wildfire incident in recent July. The heatwave triggered the wildfires that have caused massive destruction in the State. Nearly 323 homes have been damaged while 458,429 acres burned.
Southern areas of Italy are suffering due to wildfires. The wildfire incidents in Italy have displaced 1500 people and 2000 hectares have been burned.
TURKEY NOWADAYS [JULY ONWARDS, 2021]
Turkey is facing wildfires in southern areas nowadays. The death toll has risen to eight while coastal resorts are damaged due to wildfire. The country has issued warnings of disaster areas. People have lost their livestock and homes.
CAUSES OF WILDFIRES
Causes of wildfires are either natural or anthropogenic activities.
- Natural Causes: Lightning, meteors, volcanic eruption, etc, favored by dry climatic conditions are naturally led to wildfires.
- Human Activities: Human error or negligence is a key cause of the wildfire. Forests have bushes that catch fires due to light sparks of fires. Human sources that are responsible for wildfire include burning cigarettes, campfires, deforestation fires, and arson.
EFFECTS OF WILDFIRES
The effects of wildfires on the environment, humans, and wildlife are extremely dangerous.
1. Loss of Human Lives: Wildfires are also responsible for deaths. The heavy smoke due to wildfires causes developmental disorder and premature deaths.
2. Loss of Wildlife: Wildfires not only kill forests but also cause the loss of wildlife that resides in forests. Many species go extinct due to wildfires.
3. Economic Losses: Forests are the source of timber and wildfires cause extreme damage to the economy of the country.
4. Air Pollution: The heavy smoke from wildfires causes air pollution. T The burning forest releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that leads to global warming.
5. Habitat Loss: Wildfires often destroy natural habitats for wildlife. Plant species get burned and many animals lose their habitats. You may like to read Biodiversity Loss – Causes, Effects, and Solutions
6. Property Damage: Humans suffer another problem due to wildfire and that is property damage. The wildfire engulfs natural vegetation and destroys nearby homes.
WILDFIRES AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Wildfires and climate change have a strong connection. Any ecological destruction happening anywhere around the world is triggered by human-induced climate change. The extent of damage caused by wildfire has increased manifolds due to favoring climate conditions. The dry and hot weather conditions due to climate change favor wildfires that in return cause the release of more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Eventually, wildfires lead to global warming. Hence this cycle continues.
Forests are the lungs of the Earth. They provide numerous benefits to humanity such as prevent floods, clean air, carbon sink, etc. However human activities have left no limit to damage these lungs. These wildfires incidents require slight human negligence and then, climate change contributes to its violent spread. Humans certainly suffer these events but who is at most risk of it? Sadly, WILDLIFE.
Also, check out: Bushfires and Their Dangerous Impacts on the Environment
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– MS Environmental Science
– Content Writer
Researcher, Nature Lover, and Environmentalist