At any given moment thick, rolling smoke plumes covering several thousand acres are spewed out by raging wild fires burning all over the world. From Asia to Africa, Europe to North and South America, these extreme fires are exacerbated by heat waves and droughts, the perilous extreme weather brought on more frequently by climate change. Communities across the globe have burned to the ground ruining lives and businesses, forcing vast migrations into other countries, adding to already growing population densities.
In a recent Reuters article entitled “Factbox: Wildfires breaking out across the world”, aerial shots of several countries around the world capture images of smoke or blackened sections of the earth from deadly blazes raging out of control.
As the climate changes and the earth gets warmer the risk of devastating wild fires increase. In February, 2022, a landmark United Nations report by more than 50 researchers from six continents said that wild fires could increase by up to 57% by the end of the century.
According to a BBC story by Jake Horton & Daniele Palumbo, in the entire European Union, France and Spain have had more land burned by forest fires so far this year with almost 346,000 hectares (1,370 square miles) of land burnt as of July 16th.
For years we’ve seen this coming. In the fall of 2020 then ClimateYou Senior Editor George Ropes wrote in his piece Climate Change Fuels Ominous Wildfires, that the entire Northwest US was ablaze and how multiple fires in California, Oregon and Washington states had more than 1.5 million acres burned with fires tearing through entire towns, leveling more than 5000 homes and buildings, causing at least eight deaths and forcing half a million people to evacuate to safety.
Ropes concluded that drastic cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions (GHG) that contribute to the Earth’s warming could limit the damage caused by these wild fires that are made worse by severe heat waves and droughts. Reducing the damage caused by these worldwide fires will be a significant benefit to cutting GHG emissions.