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UN report on global increase in wildfires due to climate change change

Independent Australia By Sue Arnold | 28 February 2022,

By Sue Arnold | 28 February 2022, Australia can expect an increase in catastrophic wildfires according to a recently released UN report entitled Spreading like wildfire: The rising threat of extraordinary landscape fires.  

Wildfires are now a global issue, with predictions of exponential increases as a result of climate change, poor land-use planning and a lack of focus on mitigation strategies.

The report makes from grim reading. Over 50 experts from research institutions, government agencies and international organisations from around the globe contributed to the report.

No estimate has been made of the economic cost of wildfires by governments. A U.S. study mentioned in the UN report estimates that the annual economic burden of wildfire to be between $71.1 billion–$347.8 billion (AU$98.3 billion–$480.8 billion).

Costs to human lives exposed to wildfire smoke are growing exponentially. The Lancet journal estimates the annual mortality as a result of exposure resulted in 30,000 deaths across 43 countries.

According to the UN study, the extreme weather conditions that were potentially a leading cause of the Australian wildfires in 2019/2020 were shown to be 30 per cent more likely to have occurred because of climate change.

Scientists involved predict that by the end of the century, the probability of wildfires like the 2019/2020 fires will likely increase by 31-59 per cent in a given year……………………………

Australia is very similar to the U.S. in that most of the spending goes on helicopters, firefighters, efforts to put out the fires. It’s often not a good use of resources; other integrated management approaches can be more successful. ………….

IA asked Professor Baker to comment on the many studies which indicate logging of forests raises the risk of more wildfires:

‘When you log, you reduce resilience.’

Plantations are a focus of the report. Victoria and South Australia have significant numbers of eucalypt plantations, many burned incinerating thousands of animals. According to the fire experts, the increased availability of fuel and extensive continuous areas allows fire to spread rapidly and unconstrained. Accumulation of flammable fuels in monoculture plantations, plus extended droughts due to climate change, generate increasingly frequent conditions to high intensity forest fires………………

The International Association of Wildland Fire will hold a Fire and climate: issues and futures conference in Melbourne in June 2022 focused on better preparation and response to ‘this formidable challenge in the new decade’,16098

February 28, 2022 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change

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