Extreme wildfires have doubled in just 20 years – here’s the science

By Víctor Fernández García and Cristina Santín
The Conversation
June 27, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Recently, more than 70 wildfires burned simultaneously in Greece. In early 2024, Chile suffered its worst wildfire season in history. Last year, Canada’s record-breaking wildfires burned from March to November and flames devastated the island of Maui. And the list goes on. A new study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution shows that the number and intensity of the most extreme wildfires on Earth have doubled over the past two decades. Researchers at the University of Tasmania, first calculated the energy released by different fires over 21 years from 2003 to 2023. They did this by using a satellite-based sensor which can identify heat from fires, measuring the energy released as “fire radiative power”. …Importantly, these extreme wildfires are also becoming even more intense. …Burn severity  is also worsening in many regions… This new evidence underscores the urgency of addressing the root causes behind worsening wildfire activity, such as land cover changes, forest policies and management, and, climate change.

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