Home From The Sidelines Climate Change: Wildfire Causes’ Devastation

Climate Change: Wildfire Causes’ Devastation

Climate change is one of the most important things to focus on as it is affecting countries across the globe. The effects of climate change are increasing day by day. The reason for it is the rise in the temperature which is around 1.2 degrees celsius and is leading to the heating up of the earth and destabilizing it.  During the summers, the heat this year is breaking records. Another problem is that the dry and hot air is combined with low humidity eventually leading to forest fires. The fire in Australia, California, and Siberia that have lasted for months can be seen as the biggest example of the above. The fires that took place in California this year destroyed 1 million hectares of land into ashes. The fire that started in July 2019 lasted for about eight months in Australia destroying the majority of the forested land. The Mediterranean Basin countries which were to already predict are being affected the most. Italy, Greece, Spain, Algeria, and Turkey have been going through the wildfire disaster for days.

In California, the wildfire has already escalated. As per the official reports from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), the Dixie fire has a rugged Sierra Nevada range northeast of San Francisco burning 604,000 acres of drought-parched timber and bushes. This has been on record the second-largest California wildfire in history. 1,200 homes and other structures have been lost in the wildfire but another 16,000 buildings are listed as threatened, with the evacuation of people estimating from 12,000 to 28,000 residents in the process.

In Spain, high temperatures and low humidity created conditions for the fire to spread. Authorities have evacuated around 1000 people from the area. As per the reports, the wildfire has destroyed at least 12,000 hectares of land. 1000 fire-fighters including 140 emergency military personnel have put the situation under control. 

In Greece, the first blaze was broken in the Keratea region south-east of Athens, which was also a big threat to the nearby national park in the Sunion region. The three communities present in the region were evacuated and the fire was controlled through the help of 100 fire-fighters, eight water-dropping planes, and 11 helicopters. 

The latest victim of climate change has been Turkey. Droughts, heatwaves, fires, floods, and tornadoes are among the events that have started to occur in Turkey but the biggest one that has impacted them is the wildfire that they have experienced recently. 299 wildfires started in 54 provinces across Turkey which started on July 28 and almost lasted for 17 days. As per the reports by the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, 9 people have lost their lives in these wildfires. Although the fire has been brought under control it has affected forests and residential areas. Several neighbourhoods and villages have been evacuated. The forest animals have also been affected.

Turkey has controlled the situation with the help of great crisis management. The General Directorate of Forestry (OGM) mobilised the resources and established crisis centres in the areas. The teams of the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and National Medical Rescue Team (UMKE) were also present at the scenes. The volunteers from the Turkish Red Crescent were also present. So far, Turkish Red Crescent teams of 2712 staff and 11962 volunteers have participated in the relief efforts. It has delivered food assistance and humanitarian aid to more than 647000 persons in need. Land-based water cannon vehicles (TOMAs), military helicopters, coastal safety, and guard teams were helping too.  The local government also played a major part to control the fire. Countries like Azerbaijan and Ukraine and organisations like European Union (EU), brought the fire in the most affected areas under control. 

Turkey has been doing its part to conserve climate change and control such natural disasters. Turkey in the last few decades has increased the number of plantations. Per the official reports by OGM, 5.4 billion new saplings have been planted. Also, Turkey ranked first in Europe and sixth in the world in afforestation between 2015 and 2020. But it’s still experiencing the effects of climate change more severely as each day passes. Per the reports, the temperature will increase and droughts too which will lead to more wildfires. So, they need to take all the necessary steps to prevent this from happening any further. 

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