The aftermath of widespread fires can trigger climate change by leading to erosion, heavy flood, landslides, loss of vegetation and water shortage.
Wildfire has now become a common phenomenon. Every year we hear about this manmade or natural disaster that signifies to us the urgency of climate change. We should consider this alarming situation and start working on it, if not, then we all know the future of the planet earth is extinction. The cause behind half of the forest fires remains unanswered while the other half is because of natural and manmade reasons. Natural causes include lightning, wild bushes, leaves and some trees can also lead to the fire. On the other hand, man-made disasters are mainly due to fuel leakages, smoke, sparks from machines and vehicles, campfires, fireworks, and so on.
Did you know that the vastness of forest fires is more when it is generated by human-made causes than the natural ones? The aftermath of the widespread fires can trigger climate change by leading to erosion, heavy flood, landslides, loss of vegetation and water shortage. Also, the death of animals pushing so many species to the verge of extinction and loss of human lives and homes are problems that take a substantial time to deal with.
Now let us take a look at the wildfires around the world in the last two years. More than 10 major forest fires have been reported in the past couple of years, including the catastrophic forest fire in the Amazon rainforest, Brazil. Here we discuss the four major forest fires of the twenty-first century.
Last year’s tropical dry season came with deadly forest fires in the Amazon rainforest, a huge part of which is located in the territory of Brazil. Home to several million species of insects and animals, the Amazon is considered the lungs of the earth for its abundant vegetation and biodiversity. Human activities for exploitation are banned in the region but alleged reports of violations are often found. The rainforest faces a forever threat during the tropical dry seasons as it has a high probability of leading to forest fires. However, the reason behind the 2019 Amazon wildfires is widespread deforestation. The inactive disaster management process led by the Brazilian government added to the problem. Forestlands of hectares were on fires, killing the vegetation of the rainforest. Anyway, plants are grown by indigenous communities with the support of governments and international organisations.
In the years 2019 and 2020, Australia had faced a series of wildfires during the bushfire season widely known as the black Summer. The country has a vast forest area and is the habitat for various animal species. Climate change is considered the reason behind the bushfire spread by several environmentalists and they demanded the Australian government to take immediate measures to tackle the crisis.
However, the common understanding of the cause is that the bushfire happened because of lighting in isolated dry areas and then spread to other parts of the country. A further result of the bushfire disaster was severe health issues for humans like asthma and lung problems, death of animals, and loss of vegetation. This makes it clear how important it is to keep the vegetation and keep up with the reforestation.
Starting in July 2019, the Siberian wildfire had spread to more than two million hectares of land and is one of the biggest fires of the decade causing the loss of a large area of forest. Also, the fire caused a spike in air pollution due to the smoke in all those affected areas including big cities. Greenpeace International had reported that the fire started due to some campfires held near river banks. At the same time, some other studies had a different finding: they said that the wildfire was caused by lightning.
It has been said that this forest fire has long-term effects on the environment. Erosion, loss of forestry and a high amount of greenhouse gas emissions are some of the consequences of the wildfire. Hectares of lands, forests and human residence were lost and thousands of people were displaced.
In the year 2020, California faced the largest forest fire in history, burning millions of acres of land. The wildfire displaced a huge number of people and caused a temporary mass migration. This wildland fire is mainly due to climate change and suppression of fires for a considerably long time. Ashes and smoke from the fire are spreading toxic air in the area and increasing air pollution to an immeasurable level. A plethora of homes have been destroyed by fire; animals, trees and other species have been affected too. Also, human health is at risk ,both short term and long term.
Climate change is the real reason behind wildland fires and it is urging us to take action to fight for a better environment. Increased dryness and drought, which are some common reasons behind the fires, can be stopped to an extent by planting trees and saving water, thereby we can prevent air pollution, health issues, and the threat of extinction of the entire living beings.
About the author: Nivya Jayan is a passionate writer and graduate in economics. She is a reader for life and interested in politics and diplomacy.