Even the Arctic that once might have seemed untouched now faces a growing risk of wildfires, experts say in a new report released this week ahead of the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi.
"Climate change and land use change are expected to make wildfires more frequent and intense, with a global increase in extreme fires of up to 14% by 2030...and 50% by the end of the century” , according to the report of the United Nations Environment Program and GRID-Arendal.
It calls on governments to divert related investments from “reaction and response to prevention and preparedness”.
Spreading like Wildfire: The Rising Threat of Extraordinary Landscape Fires is the report that reveals the high risk, even for the Arctic and other regions previously untouched by wildfires, and calls for "a combination of monitoring systems based on data and scientific data with indigenous knowledge and for stronger regional and international cooperation”
Inger Andersen, PEN (United Nations Environment Programme) Executive Director for Fire Season , said: “Current government responses to wildfires often put money in the wrong place. Emergency service workers and firefighters on the front lines who are risking their lives fighting wildfires must be supported.
"We need to minimize the risk of extreme wildfires by being better prepared: invest more in fire risk reduction, work with local communities and strengthen global commitment to fight climate change."
Wildfires disproportionately affect the world's poorest countries, which struggle to meet reconstruction costs, the two agencies' report adds.
"Wildfires and climate change exacerbate each other," he says: wildfires are exacerbated by climate change through hotter, drier and longer fire seasons , while climate change affects carbon-rich ecosystems such as peat bogs and rainforests, turning “landscapes into powder kegs” .
Wildfires are bringing some animal and plant species closer to extinction – the 2020 Australian bushfires, for example, which are believed to have wiped out millions of domestic and wild animals.
The United Nations Environment Program and GRID-Arendal argue that “restoring ecosystems is an important way to mitigate the risk of wildfires before they happen and to build back better after them. -this.
“The restoration of wetlands and the reintroduction of species such as beavers, the restoration of peatlands, the construction of vegetation at a distance and the preservation of buffer zones in open spaces are some examples of the essential investments in prevention, preparation and the restoring. »
In one of the most climatically significant events of the past year , some 50 forest fires were burning in the Russian republic of Yakutia in Siberia, and by September they were dying out at the rate of five a day; the previous year, the World Weather Attribution partnership had concluded that a heat wave in Siberia would have been impossible without human-induced climate change.