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The Increasing Number of Forest Fires During The Pandemic: Know More About It

Since the first confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, the world is aware of the transmission speed of the disease. Being classified as something new, the health community was not very sure of that information before. Furthermore, all journalism vehicles were flooded with news about it. Recently, they are mostly about ongoing vaccines against this disease. However, although it is the main problem that has reached global scales and changed the routine of almost all citizens, it is not the only one, and others remain extremely important. The new Coronavirus is not the only issue involving the environment, forest fires have increased worldwide.

According to National Institute for Space Research (INPE), it was detected, via satellite, that occurrence of forest fires in Brazilian Amazon last month increased an amount of 28% in comparison to July 2019. In total, there were captured 6.803 fires in 2020 regarding 5.318 fires in last year. One of the consequences of this is that, as shown by meteorological organ Metsul, the smoke and ash from these fires in the Amazon and Brazilian Pantanal (wetland) regions reached the south of the country earlier this month. The phenomenon was noticeable through the change in the sky colors at dusk and occurred due to hot air currents from the north, which carry smoke along the middle latitudes of South America.

A vector illustration representing the Earth wearing a mask.
Photo from Pixabay

When it comes to Europe, France has also had problems involving forest fires. On August 5th, raging fires in the south of the country – in Marseille city – injured 22 people, destroyed sundry businesses and houses, and caused a forced evacuation of around 2.700 people. Between these, there were many tourists and nursing home residents. According to the local fire service, the fires started in eight campsites near the towns of Martigues and the wind swept flames through residential areas and multiple campgrounds. Lastly, it took fourteen hours for the firefighters to bring the situation under control, acting on land and air.

Australia has always had environmental issues due to the dominant dry climate in a large portion of the country. Nevertheless, they have worsened significantly since last year. Official reports estimate that about three billion animals were killed or displaced by bushfires – almost three times more when compared to January numbers. “The interim findings are shocking. It’s hard to think of another event anywhere in the world in living memory that has killed or displaced that many animals”, stated Wildlife and Environmental Conservation (WWF-Australia) CEO, Dermot O’Gorman. “This ranks as one of the worst wildlife disasters in modern history”.

However, what are the causes of this nature crises?

one world sign
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a climate change organization from United Nations, extreme events have increased in frequency and intensity, reaching more and more populations and natural systems worldwide; and it is intrinsically related to climate change.

Climatic misfortunes are natural from time to time, but anthropological actions have increased their frequency and severity. For example, a burning season which was already common in regions with dry woods, this year is even more common, happening with increasingly shorter breaks. That is because global warming is rising the average temperature from Earth’s climate system. Good news is fighting against it may be done with small actions, such as: reducing household waste, saving up electric energy and potable water, supporting agro-ecological food and choosing to go on foot or by bicycle, instead of using a car, when possible.


The article above was edited by Marina Ponchio.

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Beatriz Foiadelli

Casper Libero '23

A Journalism student in Brazil, 20 years old.
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