It has certainly been a long, hot summer, which is why today’s post is about wildfires. Did you know that wildfire season in the United States is now longer and more dangerous than ever before? According to an infographic I checked out recently (image credit for the infographic goes to Furniture Plus Online), wildfire season is now more than 7 months, compared to the 1970s, when it was just 5 months.
In 2013, there were 47,575 wildfires. This increased to 63, 312 in 2014, 68,151 in 2015, 67,743 in 2016, and in 2017 there were 71,499 wildfires. So why has there been such a massive increase? Well we all know that temperatures are rising globally, but in the Western United States, the average temperature has been increasing each year. This means that forests are drier, and conditions are perfect for wildfires to ignite. Not to mention, once they’re ignited, it’s even more difficult to put them out.
Unfortunately, approximately 90% of wildfires are started by humans in the United States. While a large portion of these are started purposefully, many are started by negligence or simply human error. Regardless of how these fires are started, the effects are devastating.
In British Columbia, 2.86 million acres of forest has been lost to wildfires this year alone. California has lost 1 million acres to deforestation, and this devastating impact means a terrible loss of biodiversity and wildlife as millions of plants, animals, and trees are destroyed.
So what can you do to help stop the problem? Awareness is the first step. Share this post and the infographic with everyone you know. For people who spend a lot of time outdoors, speak openly with friends, family members, and acquaintances about the situation. While humans can’t control how warm the forests are, they can control how many wildfires are started.
You’re probably aware that fires should never be left unattended outdoors, but this includes while you’re sleeping. Often, people think that a fire has been completely extinguished, only to have it come back to life a few hours later. Make sure you’re using water to extinguish your fires, and stir through the ashes to ensure they’re completely cold before you leave.
If you smoke, you need to be extra careful. Never drop cigarettes or matches outdoors, even if you’re sure they’re out.
Did you realise the wildfire problem was this bad? Leave your comments below.