Are Forest Fires Increasing in Intensity?
Throughout my career as a professional educator, I have watched the weather closely and have witnessed first-hand how forest fires have become more destructive and more frequent. We all know the threat of Global Warming, and as much as I would prefer that this to be a vast conspiracy theory, there's little doubt that it is causing a growing forest fire crisis throughout the world. This is happening for several reasons, including more lightening, desertification, deforestation, persistent droughts, urban expansion, resource exploitation, fresh water depletion, and higher global temperatures, just to name a few.
In the following lesson, I will go over the primary reasons that forest fires are growing in intensity and frequency.
Some Troubling Figures
California Wildfire Documentary
Human Causes Contributing to the Forest Fire Situation
Although fires are a natural and healthy part of the ecosystem of a forest, the raging fires are causing alarm to those who are to be maintaining these issues. The expenditures are multiplying at an increased rate as well as personal losses for citizens. It is in the neighborhood of $3 Billion annually in losses. Not only is the land, property and ecosystems at risk for severe damage, these shrinking areas displace animals as their natural habitats are destroyed.
Pollution is the main factor in the equation. The fire season has been growing each year as the forests become combustible about thirty days into spring weather which is taking place earlier each year. There has also been an infestation of insects which are killing the trees making them perfect for fire wood. The temperatures are also increasing over the entire planet, especially in the Western United States. The cycle is as follows. The weather is hotter, the water is evaporated into the atmosphere, there is less water available and the system suffers. I have always wanted to move to California, but with these increasing temperatures it is no longer an option for me.
Future Outlook and Ways to Solve this Crisis
With this increase in temperatures will come an increase in lightening from thunderstorms which are not predictable and can happen at random locations. This is particularly concerning to those who live in the area. It looks like it is going to just get worse too. There are predictions that in the next thirty years, the temperature is going to increase anywhere from 3.6 degrees to 9 degreed Fahrenheit. This can create thunderstorm activity to increase up to thirty percent. It can also change the entire area into a desert which is concerning to those people who live in that area.
The balance is off course in this region. Many forests depend on heat and fire as their seeds are deeply imbedded into cones which are held together by a strong say substance, not far off from super glue. This has turned against itself. Fire suppression lessens how many seeds will fall to the ground to grow for new forests. This makes the existing trees more susceptible for long burning and widespread fires.
The fires are also responsible for their own presence as the carbon dioxide is being put into the atmosphere causing many difficulties in furthering the effects of global warming. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be an end in sight and it looks like there are things that need to change or our forests on the West Coast will begin to disappear. Hopefully the emergency response systems in place will be able to assist in these areas as there is a lot of financial need for this issue.
Discovery Documentary about North American Forest Fires
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Well done! This is a scary concern for humanity. The documentaries were very powerful - hopefully we figure out a way prevent these mega-fires in the future...