Two places in the globe had major wildfires on August 18th. One is in British Columbia (B.C.), Canada, with about 15,000 households ordered to evacuate and a provincial emergency being declared, according to BBC News. CBC News reports that the fire spread from 64 to 6,800 hectares within 24 hours. The other is on the Spanish island of Tenerife, where the fire had consumed more than 3,797 hectares or about 9,400 acres in a perimeter of about 25 miles, according to The New York Times. Thousands of people had to evacuate to evade the fire as well. Although there are complex reasons behind the causes of these wildfires, the experts for both events say weather patterns are intensifying the conditions that fuel disastrous wildfires and help them to burn longer and more aggressively, according to BBC News and The New York Times. Therefore, climate change has an indirect impact on causing wildfires, threatening human lives.
West Kelowna fire chief Jason Brolund in B.C. described the wildfire as “devastating,” according to BBC news. “If you get an evacuation order, please leave,” said B.C. Premier David Eby to British Columbians, according to CBC News. The army’s Military Emergency Unit in Spain said that dense clouds of smoke were impairing visibility for firefighters and preventing many water-carrying aircraft from getting close, according to AP News.
The authorities and firefighters did their best to protect and evacuate people in the area. The heroism of firefighters must be respected in saving people’s lives in high temperatures and fatal conditions. However, recurring wildfires across the globe and the analyses of these phenomena demonstrate that extreme and long-lasting heat waves due to climate change have worsened the causality of wildfires. The incidents push the authorities and world leaders to either improve their preparation for future wildfires that will be more frequent or to seek solutions that will alleviate the impact of climate change.
According to BBC News, this year’s Canadian wildfires are worse than in recent years. There are more than 230 active fires in B.C., according to CBC News. So far, according to CBC News, 2.1 million hectares of land burned in 2023, which is high compared to other years (one million hectares). Therefore, Canada has not had such devastating fires in ten years, although it is famously known for having annual fires.
Many authorities in Canada are hoping that the number will not reach the record of 2014 when it reached 3 million hectares. However, there are no signs that the active fires will extinguish very soon, CBC News reported. Spain had the ‘most complex’ fire in 40 years, according to The New York Times. AP News reports that, according to the latest figures from the European Forest Fire Information System, Spain heads the list of European Union countries affected by wildfires so far this year, with 75,000 hectares (185,000 acres) burned, ahead of Italy and Greece. Spain accounted for almost 40% of the nearly 80,000 hectares (2 million acres) burned in the European Union in 2022, according to AP news.
This year – and even in August – countries and different places across the globe have suffered severely due to wildfires, and it is undeniable that climate change accounts for the extreme weather patterns that make conditions favourable for wildfires to occur. That puts the millions of lives and households in danger. Through these incidents, authorities must contemplate how to avoid and prepare for these deadly events recurring in future, reconsidering the impacts of climate change in human lives.
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