A report of the United Nations Environment Program warns that the frequency of strong forest fires will increase to 31% to 57% by the end of the century.
- News: A report by more than 50 experts concluded that forest fires will become more frequent in the coming decades due to several factors, including climate change, as found in the study UN Environment Program.
- Extreme weather as a result of climate change leads to hot, high-speed winds that contribute to forest fires.
Flashback: Fires in recent years, for example in Western America and Australia, have intensified over time, according to The New York Times. While some forest fires are natural and beneficial to the ecosystem, other large-scale fires can be harmful to the health of the environment.
What causes the increase ?: “Human-induced climate change is increasing forest fires around the world,” UN report reads.
- Climate change, land use and population change contribute to changes in fire regimes (forest fire schemes), according to UN report. Increased drought, high temperatures, low humidity, lighting and strong winds are factors caused by climate change, creating an environment in which forest fires develop.
Why is this important? : Fires can affect the global carbon cycle. When a fire burns organic material full of terrestrial carbon, such as peatlands and rainforests, a large amount of CO2 is released into the air. This speeds up the carbon cycle, leading to global warming, reports The Institute of World Resources.
- Smoke from a forest fire can cause airway damage. As noted in Utahforest fires affect air quality, reports U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The smoke of forest fires contains particles and toxic combustion products that have led to “harmful effects on the cardiovascular system”. UN study.
- Fires pose a threat to wildlife. The fire could cause deaths and destroy wildlife habitats, states National Geographic. A UN study says there is evidence of forest fires pushing some animals and plants to extinction. There is also a threat to natural bodies of water due to pollution coming from forest fires.
What can be done? The UN is urging politicians to be aware of the impact of climate change on increasing forest fires, UN Environment Program. Adhering to the standards of Paris Agreement (Agreement between the United Nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to slow global warming), improve fire safety, integrate traditional and indigenous fire management techniques, and empower local authorities – all actions that can be taken to reduce threats. supplied by forest fires.