Wildfire: A Threat to Survival

Najifa Alam Torsa

Sometimes we watch the news on television about huge fires in the woods taking away homes and lives and vegetation. We get scared and sad about such a disaster and its horror. This is called wildfire or bushfire. In recent years we have seen wildfire taking over lands and killing hundreds of animals. This has been a regular occurrence in many forest areas of the world. These wildfire or bushfires are basically unplanned phenomena that burn in vegetation or rural area or in a dry area. These wildfires are occurring for thousands of years since the birth of the earth.

These fires don’t have any limitations about any environment or any area. It can spread from one continent to another if possible. In simple words, we know these wildfires as burning events in forest areas where so many species of vegetation and animals are harmed.

This natural event has an enormous impact on the existence of so many species as it can cause extinction sometimes. Also, the fire can cause massive damage to the natural environmental condition.

In the last few years, there were so many wildfires on different continents. California, Turkey, Amazon, Australia, Greece and many more areas faced the terrific situation of wildfire in past few years. The amount of injuring animals and vegetation was uncountable. In 2019, The Amazonian rainforest saw a massive bushfire in the month of June. It was the Amazonian tropical dry season and areas of the Amazon rainforest and the biome, Brazil, Paraguay faced the wildfire. In the same year, there was a bushfire in the Canary Islands with strong wind. It forced thousands of people to leave houses and damaged the vegetation as well. In 2020, The Uttarakhand forest of India also faced wildfire. In that fire, about 46 spots were discovered to be burning covering around 71-hectare areas.  In 2021, In Russia, the Taiga forest also was on wildfire. This fire was so massive that the smoke reached out to the North Pole for the very first time in history. Also in the month of July and August of 2021, there was another bushfire in the Turkish forest. This fire was one of the most dangerous bushfires. This bushfire was originated from heatwave caused by climate change. Turkish fire was a part of a series of wildfires including Greece. In Greece the fire mainly occurred in the early August and it injured around 20 people including 2 deaths. This was also the result of heat wave. When the temperature in Turkish fire was 37°C (99°F), Greece was facing the temperature of 41°C(116°F) at that time. These are only some of the recent bushfire events occurred in last few years. But the wildfires are so much more ancient as they are occurring from the very beginning. The recorded wildfires are mainly from the Eightieth and Ninetieth century. So if we describe the reasons for the bushfires, there will be lot of types in that matter.

In a wide range, the reasons for wildfires are so many. There can be human-created causes and there can be natural issues. If we think about it, we can make up links between human-made causes and bushfires. Also, we can find out some natural causes. If we notice carefully, we can discover how unaware human acts can be that it can set a whole forest on fire. In the USA, wildfire mainly occurs because of leftover of cigarettes. If we go deep in human-created reasons, there will be cigarettes, burning debris, arson, campfire etc. In many places, people burn their yard wastes in random places. At the time of debris burning, the wind plays a vital role to spread the fire through the vast area. On the other hand, campfires which are fun for both younger and older people, are also responsible for bushfires. If a campfire is not properly handled, it can cause fire in that place. Another fun activity that can cause wildfire is fireworks. If firework is not handled properly and if it is done in a vegetation area, it can cause bushfire.

There is another very bad activity done by human that causes wildfire, that is arson. Arson is setting fire intentionally in property or vehicles for damaging. Arson may account 30% of all wildfires.

Also we can detect some natural issues causing wildfires. There is a type of lightening called ‘Hot Lightening’ which lasts for a very long time. This lightening can cause wildfire. Also hot burning lava from volcanic eruptions can cause wildfires. Nowadays as the climate change has become a major issue and the temperature is rising in a higher rate, it is also considered that climatic issues can be some of the reasons for wildfires.

 Wildfires causes devastating harm to human and the environment. Bushfires take away homes and vegetation’s making people homeless. Also the of the area gets completely destroyed. The nutrients and debris that make up soil are gone for good if wildfire is hits. So many animals lose their life. In some case some of the species also extinct. Not only animal but also trees and plants become the victim of wildfire. As trees are our oxygen supplier, so when trees are gone, we are at risk. Not only that, the high amount of smoke makes it difficult to breathe. To put out the fire, firefighters pour so much water which results in eroding the soil. Human lives are also lost due to the wildfire sometimes. The workers who works in the woods for a living loses their income and jobs. These are some of the detrimental results of wildfires. We should look for solutions to this devastating disaster. As the reasons are both human made and natural, we should be looking for both kind of solutions.

First of all, everyone should make sure that they are properly following all the local laws and regulations regarding burning fires during different time zones of the year. Also, it should be made sure that one only uses the permitted materials for burning outside. Keeping up to date with weather is also important. One must know how to act with the weather at different times. When using fireworks or campfires or other fire pits, one should be careful about the area. The fire must not be spreading in a vast area. Not burning materials that are unusual to the nature is also important. Using organic materials for burning. Teaching the youngsters about the rules of burning stuffs outside in a vast place is also important.

These are just basic methods to be known to reduce the chances of occurring wildfires.

Most importantly we should be careful about our acts in person. Nature can be rude sometimes and it can burn itself by its own.

But what we can do is doing our level best to make sure that we are not causing this harm to Mother Nature

.Author is a Student of  Environmental Science and Engineering, 

Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University

Email: najifa.alam24@gmail.com

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