The increasing number of wildfires in the European Union can blamed on the damage caused by global warming. This was a statement made by a researcher at the National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture.
The land area already destroyed by wildfires this years is already close to twice the size of Luxembourg. During 2017 alone, 1,067 wildfires have already been recorded by different agencies. This figure is a giant leap from the previous annual average of 404 from the past years.
Climate change is one of the primary suspects by various researchers claiming that global warming has lengthened the usual wildfire seasons, and almost double the frequency of fires. They also warned everybody, that unless something is done, wildfires will soon engulf larger areas, and areas once untouched by wildfires.
Portugal, Italy and Croatia are among the most hit by wildfires as higher temperatures and lesser rainfall has been recorded. This year, a tragic wildfire in Portugal resulted to the death of 64 individuals, most of which were trapped in their vehicles as they tried to flee.
Thomas Curt, a researcher at the National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture, is one of the leading experts that tagged the increase in wildfires to climate change.
Alexander Held, a senior expert at the European Forest Institute, supported Curt’s claims saying wildfires have become increasingly frequent and early. “We will see a lot more surprises and fires burning in places that don’t have a fire history,” Held said. “Spain burns, yes, but it’s not a surprise.
“We’ll see more fires and more intense fires in the Mediterranean and new fire situations in countries that don’t really expect it.”
A study held by the University of Leicester showed that Catalonia, Madrid, and Valencia are the ones most at risk of increasing wildfires that could threaten people’s lives and properties.
“I would say it’s the weather and weather is the short-term of climate. We do have these more extreme weather situations more often, so this is climate change,” Held added.
“But it’s a very welcome excuse to say it’s climate change. It gives you a nice way out to say it’s climate change.”
Held, who is a forester and a fire specialist, called for immediate action to be dome to address the problem. He also blamed forestry companies who chose profit over safety for not installing adequate fire breaks in the lands.