Savage wildfires have been sweeping through Europe and parts of the United States, destroying land and claiming the lives of both people and wildlife.
Turkey has appealed for help to fight their blazes as southern Europe experienced huge temperature increases reaching up to 45°c. The fires in Turkey have already claimed at least 8 lives and are still burning 6 days later. Hundreds more have evacuated parts of Greece, Spain and Italy as wildfires have also started to break in villages there as the heatwave, described as one of the hottest in decades, continues. Italy alone has recorded more than 800 wildfires.
Across the pond in the US, more than 95% of the American west is classes as in drought as the so called ‘Bootleg fire’ continues to spread, having already claimed 413,762 acres of land. The fire is said to have started by a lightening bolt strike on the 6th July, but has been exaggerated by the dry conditions and unpredictable winds.
Whilst wildfires are common annually across the globe, particularly in hotter regions, according to Dann Mitchell, a professor of climate science at the University of Bristol, climate change is said to have ‘very likely’ enhanced the severity of the fires. This is supported by National Geographic, who state that increasing heat, changing rain and snow patterns, shifts in plant communities, and other climate-related changes have vastly increased the likelihood that fires will start more often and burn more intensely and widely than they have in the past. For fire to spread effectively, it takes three components: the right weather and climate conditions, plenty of burnable fuel, and a spark. Climate change has effected the first two, with warming air temperatures and changes to the natural water cycle and subsquently rain patterns.
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