In recent weeks, the devastating effects of wildfires have made headlines around the world, killing more than 100 people and making thousands homeless.
Several countries have reported the worst fires in decades, including hundreds of fatal fires across the Mediterranean. In Algeria, at least 69 people were killed.
The Dixie Fire in California-the second largest fire in the state’s history, and the wildfire in Siberia have been touted as one of the largest on record.
according to European Space Agency, “Fire affects approximately 4 million square kilometers (1.5 million square miles) of land on the planet every year.” In this context, it is about half the area of the United States, larger than India, or about four times the area of Nigeria.
To measure the scale of these fires and their impact on climate, vegetation, and atmosphere, scientists used observations from several low-Earth orbit satellites, including Copernicus Sentinel 3It collects shortwave infrared data and combines with other technologies to distinguish burning areas from other low-reflectivity coverings (such as clouds).
Wildfire is rising
Although wildfires are a natural part of many environments and can clear dead bushes and restore nutrients, scientists have warn They are becoming more frequent and widespread.
August, a thrilling UN report Blame the “unprecedented” climate change on human activities. Scientists from all over the world say that in the next few years, humans will experience more extreme weather and will suffer the consequences of rising sea levels and melting Arctic ice.
Associate Professor Mark Diesendorf at the University of New South Wales in Australia told Al Jazeera that climate change is generating heat waves and droughts, which in turn will cause dry vegetation and cause fires.
according to Disaster Epidemiology Research CenterSince 1911, at least 470 wildfire disasters have been reported worldwide—events that killed 10 or more people or affected more than 100 people, causing at least US$120 billion in damage.
The hot air from Africa triggered a heat wave that swept through southern Europe, leading to wildfires in the region. In the past month, hundreds of fires have occurred from Algeria to Jerusalem.
In Turkey, at least 8 people have been killed since July 28, when hundreds of fires swept the south of the country. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared the area affected by the forest fire a “disaster area” and described it as the “most serious wildfire” in the country’s history.
According to Husrev Ozkara, vice chairman of the Turkish Forestry Association, in the past ten years, there have been an average of 2,600 fires in the country every year. In 2020, this number jumped to nearly 3,400.
In neighboring Greece, the forests of Evia, Peloponnese and Attica (including around the capital Athens) were scorched by wildfires, and more than 500 fires forced the evacuation of thousands. According to reports, two people died and at least 20 people were injured.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (Kyriakos Mitsotakis) stated that the fires in Greece are undoubtedly related to the “realities of climate change.”
In Italy, firefighters have put out more than 500 fires in Sicily and southern Calabria. At least two people died.
On August 12, a monitoring station in Sicily reported a temperature of 48.8 degrees Celsius (119.8 degrees Fahrenheit)—some scientists believe this may be the highest level in European history. The President of Sardinia, Christian Solinas, called the fire an “unprecedented disaster.”
A fire broke out in southern France, killing at least two people on Wednesday near Saint-Tropez, a resort area known for its forests, vineyards and tourism.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been on holiday nearby, visited the fire zone on Tuesday. He said that the destroyed landscape is “absolutely terrifying in terms of biodiversity and natural heritage… but life is protected.”
According to the local government, at least 90 people were killed in wildfires in Algeria, including 33 soldiers.
President Abdul Majid Tebun declared three days of national mourning for the deadliest fire in the country’s history. The authorities blamed arsonists and “criminals” for the outbreak, and arrested dozens of people.
In Lebanon, wildfires spread in the forests of the Akha region in late July. A 15-year-old boy who was helping firefighters put out the fire was killed.
In Jerusalem, after a three-day exchange of fire between Palestinian firefighters and the Israeli Air Force, some of the worst fires in the area’s history were brought under control on Wednesday. There were no reports of serious injuries.
Wildfires have also erupted around the Mediterranean basin, including in Spain, Portugal and Morocco.
Dixie Fire in California
In the United States, the Dixie Fire in California has been raging since mid-July.California Fire Authority announced Tuesday The wildfire has now spread to 253,637 hectares (626,751 acres), and 31% is still under control.
This fire is currently the second largest fire in California’s history and has destroyed more than 1,200 buildings. The burned area is larger than Houston, Texas, and at least twice the area of New York City.
Only the August Complex fire in 2020 consumed more than 404,685 hectares (1 million acres) of land in California, which is even larger.
In neighbouring Canada, a record fire also swept the country temperature In July.
In Russia, uncontrollable fires have consumed thousands of kilometers (miles) of vast coniferous forests in the largest and coldest regions of Siberia.
According to Alexei Yaroshenko, head of forestry in Greenpeace Russia, the largest of these fires has exceeded 1.5 million hectares (3.7 million acres) scale.
Yaroshenko said: “This fire must expand by about 400,000 hectares (988,000 acres) to become the largest fire in recorded history.”
The environmental organization’s data is based on statistics from the Russian fire department.
according to Washington post, The wildfires in Siberia are now larger than wildfires in other parts of the world combined.
The deadliest fire in history
According to data from the Disaster Epidemiology Research Center, wildfires have caused at least 4,545 deaths and 11,379 injuries worldwide since 1911, and affected more than 17 million people.
The Cloquet Fire in Minnesota in 1918 was the deadliest fire on record, killing an estimated 1,000 people (including the missing).