Summer, ie forests are burning again in the world. And the worst is coming

The fire consumes entire parts of the American west coast, the Greek islands and the Amazon jungle. Canada can’t stand fires and there are more and more in Europe. And in the current drought it is useless to fight them.

Only in the first half of this year did a forest area of ​​four thousand square kilometers in the Amazon area burn down. That is eight times as much as the administrative area of ​​Warsaw and five times as much as New York. But the statistics, as frightening as they are, do not reflect the magnitude of the problem. It is difficult for the reader to imagine such a vast amount of space, even compared to the area he is in contact with. Much more about the magnitude of the tragedy unfolding in the Amazon jungle is the fact that the fires have already extinguished 10 percent. more land than in the same period last year. And the most since 2015, when Brazilian space research firm INPE began collecting data in this format.

Also read: Amazonia is losing its immunity. The world is threatened by a cascade of change

Trends of recent years also indicate that the worst is yet to come. The fires intensify around July and August, then the period of the burning of tropical forests by farmers begins. In the last century it was related to tradition, accompanied by local cultural events, but today this pretext is mainly used by large-scale livestock farmers and mining companies. President Jair Bolsonaro also speaks of the burning of the Amazon as part of Brazil’s national identity, which sees any call from abroad to protect nature as an interference with the country’s domestic policies and an attack on Brazil’s raison d’être. He accuses environmentalists and activists of cultural Marxism and Western imperialism.

Fires in the Amazon and on the US Coast

The drought, which has lasted for months in large parts of the jungle, is not helping to put out fires. According to research by scientists from the universities of Exeter, Potsdam and Munich, in the past two decades, the Amazon has lost its ability to regenerate naturally after fires and droughts in at least three-quarters of the area. The rainfall in 2005, 2010 and 2016 was particularly painful, and again this year there is not much rain. If you consider that in the last 50 years the jungle area has shrunk by 17% due to deforestation and by 69%. the remaining areas have experienced a decline in rainfall since 2000, unsurprisingly the Amazon is no longer able to heal human-inflicted wounds.

Also read: Amazon jungle is on fire, the world is not responding

In August, news sites around the world are likely to be filled with photos of orange glow over São Paolo, Latin America’s largest metropolis. Although it is almost 1000 km from the jungle, fires have been changing their panorama regularly for several years now. Similar views are already being observed by residents of the West Coast of the United States. More than 3,000 eruptions occurred there in the first six months of this year alone, according to data from the California Department of Forestry. to burn. The most tragic fire was the Electra fire, which affected more than 3,000 people. a (1214 ha) east of Sacramento. The battle to stop the fire is ongoing, as it only broke out at the beginning of the week, and on Wednesday, firefighters rated the extinguishing rate at 0 percent. The situation improved, but the areas under fire – mainly dried forests and fragments of prairie covered with shrubs – could burn for a few more days.

From California to Alaska

California is gearing up for another massive wildfire season. 1,200 firefighters have already been deployed to fight them and several thousand residential buildings have been partially or completely destroyed. The fire also threatens parts of the Yosemite Natural Park area where the famous giant redwoods are located. Satellite measurements and comparisons with previous years are worrying. In the first half of the year, the area burned down by 220 percent. higher than the average for the past ten years. The federal environmental service estimates that 75 percent. areas in the western US are now drought – the forests will burn longer and more often than in the past. Fires are literally everywhere from California and New Mexico to Alaska – a record 2 million acres burned in the latest state this year.

While fires in the United States are so common that residents and public authorities alike are aware of the risk and preparing to fight it, in Canada they still come as a shock. In Yukon province, bordering Alaska, there are currently as many as 144 fires — far too many for the local fire department’s processing capacity. The province asked for support, both material and personnel, as the fire got out of hand. Every week there are a dozen new hotspots, mostly caused by lightning strikes. According to information from CBS television, a whopping 671 lightning bolts recently started 136 new fires in the Yukon area. The fire is spreading to Alaska and British Columbia, which has loaned 100 of its firefighters north and now fears it will fight the staff shortage on its own.

Also read: Fires in Greece. Why are there so many victims?

Summer is getting hot

Large areas in Europe are also on fire. Already in mid-June a huge fire broke out on Euboea, the second largest island in Greece. The residents are aware of the danger, because the fire already destroyed the island last summer. Many of them decided to evacuate – the flames were already at a distance of 500 meters from the residential buildings. It’s not much better on the mainland. A fire near the town of Amfissa in the central part of the country forced the evacuation of several hundred people. The risk is also increased by drought and winds blowing at speeds of up to 50 km/h. Between Monday and Tuesday alone, 52 new fires broke out across Greece this week.

Therefore, the summer season becomes a synonym for fires. Not only forests burn, but also dry valleys covered with shrubs and mountainous areas of the area. In some cases the direct culprit is humans, in other cases the fire is a result of the increasing frequency of violent weather events and general warming of the climate. It is also the result of human activity, although in a more complex way, often invisible to the naked eye. Soon more countries will have to be added to the list of countries experiencing fires; services in France, Spain, Italy and even Poland are already preparing for firefighting. This summer is very hot. And the temperature will – unfortunately – continue to rise.

Also read: Not just Poland. The Northern Hemisphere is melting due to the heat

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