Migration has made Europe’s wildfires increasingly catastrophic

Wildfires are becoming more difficult to control because the land is not actively controlled by vegetation failure and intentional fires. “The only problem is what we are as a society. They responded For a problem, increasing fire resistance,” says Castellano. “We didn’t build ecosystem management.”

Demographic change and urban migration are occurring alongside climate change. The Mediterranean climate – both in the Mediterranean region and in similar places like California – is already prone to wildfires. Rainy winters and springs stimulate the growth of plants, which dry up in dry summers and turn into fuel. Climate change has made those conditions drier — and warmer — for longer. “It’s a performance upgrade,” Pyne said. “We’re seeing climate change intensify those conditions.”

“What’s really surprising is seeing fire moving into central Europe,” Pyne added. This is a warmer region and historically did not have the wet-dry cycle of the Mediterranean. But now suffering from increasingly frequent heat waves, wildfires can feed on changed conditions. Every hour With these heat events, the region doesn’t fall into years of drought the way California has.

When a hot, dry wind blows, it can quickly absorb moisture from grasses, branches, and shrubs. The big trees hold their moisture and resist burning, but the rest of the plants are now burning. “There is no need to dry the landscape to where it is all of them Thunder,” says Pine. “All you have to do is carry enough fuel, and because of that you can have a very fast and hot fire.”

As a result, scientists say, Europe’s “fire regime” is changing: as it warms, fire behavior changes. As the dryness of the plant increases, the amount of energy released during combustion increases. “So the lack of water increases the power of the fire dramatically and these fires multiply quickly,” said Guillermo Raine, who studies fires at Imperial College London. “Some of these fires are really impossible to stop.”

Fire scientists say the best way to reduce the risk is to reduce overgrowth and use more controlled burns. But Raine points out that this can be a tough sell to the public. “I’m from Spain—I grew up in a world where any fire is wrong,” he said. Some people object to the smoke, which can aggravate respiratory conditions such as asthma. But the alternative is more and more out-of-control fires that belch more smoke and suffocate communities for days. And firefighters take extra care to do controlled burns on days when conditions don’t send smoke into people.

Arguing with small fire may seem counterintuitive. But the adjustment is more controlled, useful ignition – literally fighting fire with fire. “Unfortunately, the real limiting factor is that there aren’t enough people doing prescribed burning,” Raine says. “There are not enough people who support this concept “Prescribed Burning”.

Originally published by Wired

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