Global Incidents of Wildfires

By Ian Teñido

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Source: INPE

Over the past few years, there has been a sharp rise in the number of wildfires being reported across the globe. For instance, between 1980 and 1989, Western United States experienced an average of 140 wildfires per year but as of 2012, the number had risen to 250 (Union of Concerned Scientists). Although human development and forest management practices are cited as some of the major causes of this problem, there are compelling reasons to suggest that climate change is playing an even bigger role in exacerbating their occurrence as well as intensity. To understand the severity of wildfires in relation to the environment, however, it becomes imperative that the phenomenon is analyzed from a global perspective as evidenced by wildfires experienced in Brazil, Central Africa, and Indonesia.

Brazil

The recent wildfires in the Amazon are considered as some of the worst across the globe especially because they are happening in the world’s largest rainforest. According to the nation’s space research center, the flames from this year’s wildfires are burning at their highest rate since 2013. The wildfires thus are a threat to the nation’s rainforest ecosystem as well as that of the entire globe (Scutti, par. 2).

Central Africa

The wildfires in Angola and Congo are considered more severe than those in Brazil. It is estimated, for instance, that by 24th August 2019, there were 3,395 fires in Congo and 6,902 fires in Angola. In comparison, Brazil had 2,127 fires at the time (Deutsche Welle, par. 14). In Central Africa, the fires are largely attributed to farming practices and to a small extent, seasonal fires. Just like the Amazon, the Congo Basin plays a vital role in absorbing large amounts of carbon dioxide, and it is thus imperative that measures are taken to reduce the wildfires in efforts to combat climate change.

Indonesia

Indonesia’s wildfires are among the most devastating given the fact that thousands of hectares of forest are currently burning across the nation. The huge amounts of carbon dioxide being released as a result have caused some parts of the nation to be covered by deep red skies. In addition to affecting the forests which are a habitat for orangutans and other wild animals, the fires are a threat to human life since the toxic smoke is associated with various short-term and long-term health problems as the possibility of death (The Conversation, par. 3).

deforestation-Artboard_1_copy_2.jpg
‘Satellite Imagery of the Amazon Rain Forest Fires’ Green: Existing forest
 Yellow: Deforestation through 2018
 Red: Fires in August -The New York Times

Summary

From the brief analysis presented above, it becomes evident that wildfires are increasingly damaging some of the world’s most vital forest ecosystems. The increased severity of the wildfires, as well as their spread to regions where they were previously rare, is subsequently raising concerns that these infernos will accelerate climate change and vice versa. Additionally, the fires are a threat to both human and animal life since they destroy natural habitats and release toxic gases. Efforts must be rallied, therefore, to control these wildfires and prevent them from causing further damage.


Works Cited

Deutsche Welle. “Amazon Versus Africa Forest Fires: Is the World Really Ablaze?” Dw.com. N. p., 2019. Web

Scutti, Susan. “Here’s What We Know About the Fires in the Amazon Rainforest.” Cnn.com. N. p., 2019. Web. 9

The Conversation. “Indonesia’s Huge Fires and Toxic Haze Will Cause Health Problems for Years to Come.” Theconversation.com. N. p., 2019. Web.

Union of Concerned Scientists. “Infographic: Western Wildfires and Climate Change.” Ucsusa.org. N. p., 2019. Web.

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