Why Are Wildfires in North America Getting Worse?

Why Are Wildfires in North America Getting Worse?

Natural disasters have been rocking the world more recently in the last couple of decades. What was better 30 years ago is nowadays as worse as we can expect it to be, without it actually destroying the planet.

From earthquakes to torrential rains and hurricanes, all-weather disasters got worse over time. Today, the most talked-about natural disasters other than floods, are wildfires. At the height of the wildfire seasons, forests around the world burn, including those in North America.

Why is that? Why are wildfires getting worse in North America? Let us try and explain.

Climate Change in Action

We have talked about climate change for decades, but the people did not want to listen. It was all neglected and put under the carpet, labeled as insignificant and an overreaction. There were talks of conspiracies and business opportunities, yet when natural disasters started to rock the world, it became evident that climate change was at the forefront of why things were getting worse.

When we talk about climate change, we talk about the rise of carbon emissions, which in turn led to an increase in temperature.

A one-degree increase in temperature changed multiple climates throughout the world, leading to major destabilization. That had an effect on the summer season, it became hotter and in some places, dryer.

The Hot Seasons are Longer

Hot seasons are troublesome because the sun tends to dry out the plans and unless the area is extremely humid, wildfires are a possibility. During the past 30 years, the wildfire seasons changed, so much that they became longer by anywhere between 40 to 80 days, depending on the place in the world. In North America, it is obvious that the season became longer, as wildfires show up at times where one would previously not have expected them.

Given that the hot seasons increased in duration, there are more opportunities for wildfires to form.

Suppression Systems are Better, But

Technically, nowadays we have better technology and that helps with both preventing and extinguishing wildfire. Short-term fire suppression systems have made some forests unable to catch wildfires, through isolation. That created other problems. This is called a wildland fire paradox, where short-term prevention makes long-term fires worse.

Focusing on long-term solutions by thinning forests and restoring a more natural order of things would in turn make wildfires less effective and would also bring back biodiversity into balance. Through exclusion, in some forests, biodiversity has suffered greatly. 

Wildfires are problematic and have been getting worse, in the world and in North America. These are some of the reasons why it got worse in North America and to an extent, in the rest of the world, as well.

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