Only Together We Can Prevent Forest Fires
Imagine, waking up with lungs clogged of carbon and ash, enveloped in massive clouds of smoke, skies turning orange as far as the eye can see. Acres upon acres set a flame, seeming like there’s no where to escape the chaos. Across the world, this nightmare is a reality due to the recent growth of wildfires surging across the earth. In the United States alone, it’s estimated that there’s an average of 72,400 wildfires destroying 7 million of acres a year since the beginning of just this decade. The wide spread of these wildfires are caused my numerous factors, but these factors have nothing against the major concern: the lack of empathy society shows for the planet. If we don’t start showing any care for the environment, soon there’ll be nothing left for us to call our home.
The Amazon rain forest covers 2.1 million square miles of South Africa, producing 20% of the oxygen in the atmosphere. It’s a home to thousands of tropical species, considered far and wide as one of the most bio-diverse places in the world. Devastatingly, earlier this past August, thousands of fires ravaged the lungs of the planet, being the most intense blazes for almost a decade. Meanwhile, a few miles away in Africa, there are more than five times as many fires than in the Amazon. A major region at risk in central Africa is the Congo Basin forest, the second largest rain forest after the Amazon.
More recently in Australia, a major wildfire surged across the east coast just north of Sydney. It was reported that over 1500 firefighters were sent to the scene to battle the 70 acres set ablaze, eventually leaving 3 dead and destroying 150 homes. Australia hasn’t even reached its summer season yet, being reported that it’s “…unprecedented to see so many fires so out of control this early in spring.” Scientist even predicted that the Australian bush fires will become more frequent and intense as climate change worsens.
These atrocities are only the tip of the ice burg of the real damages wildfires are bringing. A major cause of these fires are the “controlled” deforestation’s taking place, for as small as a single rogue ashes can send acres to the ground. Firefighters say that there are three keys to starting a wild fire; the fuel, the air, and the heat source. Wildfires can form during dry weather and droughts due to their warm temperatures encouraging combustion. All that’s left to kick it off is the spark that usually comes from arson and global emissions or as simple as a cigarette bud. Climate change also raises the chances of wildfires, leading to hotter, dryer conditions.
Besides the obvious risk of wildfires being a danger to society, they’re also detrimental to our health. Smoke releases carbon and ash into the air, reducing the air quality significantly. When this happens, it can lead to eye infections and upper respiratory illnesses. Furthermore, the aftereffects of wildfires also play a role into the dangers that come with them. Due to the exposure of bare ground and loss of vegetation, risk of floods, landslides, and altered water quality increase significantly.
Though these wildfires have done tremendous damage, it’s not to late to help and stop the spread of wildfires. Overpopulation is a major issue in our country which leads to the growing number of people moving to these fire prone lands. However, if we discourage residential developments from sprouting in these areas, that’d just one step towards a safer community. Additionally, incorporating fire-resistant designs into architecture will also make significant change. If we want to see a bigger impact, donating or joining causes like the Great Green Wall is a giant step towards a safer future. The Great Green Wall is an African-led movement with the ambition to grow 8,000 kilometers of trees across the entire width of Africa. The wall promises to be “a compelling solution to many urgent threats not only facing the African Continent, but the global community as a whole.” Once complete, the Great Green Wall will be three times the size of the Great Barrier Reef, making it the largest living structure on the planet.
With climate change, deforestation, and the carelessness of society, one could say our planet is doomed, destined to be taken over by flames and utter chaos. However, there is still hope. If we come together to truly seek and want change, change will happen, for the better. For, it’s not just you who can prevent forest fires, but all of us.