Feb 23 2022 - 07:33
Back

Extreme wildfires are here to stay and multiply - two new reports warn

Indonesia’s peatlands, California’s forests, and now, vast swathes of Argentine wetland — all have been Lebanon, news ,lbci ,أخبار UN,Wildfire,Indonesia’s peatlands, California’s forests, and now, vast swathes of Argentine wetland — all have been
episodes
Extreme wildfires are here to stay and multiply - two new reports warn
Lebanon News
Indonesia’s peatlands, California’s forests, and now, vast swathes of Argentine wetland — all have been ravaged by extreme wildfires that herald a future of greater flammability, two new reports warn.

With climate change fueling droughts and farmers slashing forests, the number of extreme wildfires is expected to increase 30% within the next 28 years. And they’re now scorching environments that weren’t prone to burning in the past, such as the Arctic’s peatlands and the Amazon rainforest.
advertisement

“We’ve seen a great increase in recent fires in northern Syria, northern Siberia, the eastern side of Australia, and India,” said Australian government bushfire scientist Andrew Sullivan, who was an editor on the report by the UN Environment Programand GRID-Arendal environmental communications group.

At the same time, the slow disappearance of cool, damp nights that once helped to temper fires also means they’re getting harder to extinguish, according to a second study published last week in Nature. With nighttime temperatures rising faster than daytime ones over the last four decades, the scientists found a 36% increase in the number of after-dark hours that were warm enough to sustain fire.

“This is a mechanism for fires to get much bigger and more extreme,” said Jennifer Balch, lead author of the Nature paper and director of the University of Colorado Boulder’s Earth Lab.

“Exhausted firefighters don’t get relief,” which means they can’t regroup and revise strategies to tackle a blaze.

The consequences of extreme fires are wide-ranging, from loss and damages to costly firefighting response. In the United States alone, the UNEP report says the economic burden of wildfire totals as much as $347 billion annually. With California’s forests ablaze, the government spent more than $3 billion on fire suppression in 2020-21.

The fire raging since December in Argentina’s Corrientes province has taken an enormous toll, killing Ibera National Park wildlife, charring pasturelands and livestock, and decimating crops including yerba mate, fruit, and rice. Losses already have exceeded 25 billion Argentine pesos ($234 million), according to The Argentine Rural Society.

The UNEP report calls on governments to rethink how they spend on wildfires, recommending they put 45 percent of their budget toward prevention and preparedness, 34 percent toward firefighting response, and 20 percent for recovery.

“In many regions of the world, most resources go toward response — they focus on the short-term,” said Paulo Fernandes, a contributing author of the UNEP report and fire scientist at Universidade of Tras-os-Montes and Alto Douro in Portugal.
 
 
 
REUTERS
 
 
 
advertisement
Read also