How Climate Change Affects Wildfires
No matter what we say, climate change is real. We are contributing to the end of our world. If glaciers melting and affecting our amount of water wasn't enough, climate change is causing wildfires too. These wildfires leave people homeless, injured, or even dead. The beautiful meadow of sunflowers you used to play in could be nothing more than a pile of ash. But how does climate change affect wildfires?
This year, there has been more fire activity on the west side of the U.S. than almost any year. It has been catastrophic for many people. The fires took over more than 3.8 million acres, which is 27 times more than in 2019. The skies were red and orange in California—almost like the purge and apocalypse combined.
The Heat of it All:
Climate change has caused our world to face extreme temperatures. We are making it worse. The chemicals we put in the air cause energy to become trapped in the atmosphere, making things heat up. The dry climate the West Coast is facing fuels the wildfires that occur. The heat also leads to less precipitation during wildfire season, meaning that there's nothing to repel the fire. Basically, this year, there was low humidity, high winds, high temperatures, and severe droughts. This is a HUGE red flag to us since, in the conditions that climate change brings, fires can spark.
Even people who don't live in areas where there are fires are affected. Millions of people on the West Coast were under a giant cloud of smoke. During this period of time, the air was hazardous to breathe, making it dangerous to go outside. The sky was deep orange and red, making it look like dusk in the afternoon. The smoke even spread over 5,000 miles to Europe. The smoke emits more chemicals, like carbon dioxide, into the air, making the temperatures even warmer. Brush fires from Australia released more than 800 million tons of carbon dioxide. Imagine what must be happening to the air.
The wildfires didn't start because of climate change. They started because of lightning. However, climate change made them worse. The high winds helped the fires spread. As climate change becomes even more of a threat, bigger fires occur more frequently. Even though fires help build forests, they destroy homes. The fires can burn a home to the ground, orphan a child, or destroy decades of a farmer's hard work.
How to Stop This:
Fires are a part of nature. We can't completely end them. However, we can help end the effect climate change has on them. We need to get rid of the chemicals in the air. To do this, it will take some political and business decisions. But if we work together, we can definitely make an impact. Protesters are working hard to convince the government to do something about this. Since leaves and twigs are known to be fuel for fire, we can clear surrounding vegetation when building things in nature. Most of all, we should make sure to be aware of what we do. We should be aware of our behavior and how it affects our planet Earth. In the end, if the Earth heals, we heal too.